Support The Intrusive State. Buy an Audi

Am I the only one who is wildly less likely to buy an Audi after Sunday?   Advertising is often about image.  Frankly, almost none of the ads yesterday addressed their product's or service's value propositions in any real way.  They are trying to connect their product with images and emotions - Coke has always been great at that.  Beer commercials always try to connect their product with, well, sex with hot women.  This is pretty traditional for beer, though less so for ISP hosting until GoDaddy came along.

So now "Audi" has been permanently tied up in my mind with intrusive state control and loss of individual liberty.   Perhaps they were trying to be funny, but I really got the impression they were more than half serious, maybe because several of the examples (composting, light bulbs) are real issues subject to state control even in parts of this country.

Update: Obama appointee expresses need for SWAT teams in neighborhoods to enforce energy efficiency.


  1. SB7:

    "Am I the only one who is wildly less likely to buy an Audi after Sunday?"

    Nope. I'm in the same boat. They apparently didn't learn from Apple's "1984" commercial: you're supposed to associate the other guy's product with distopia.

  2. Uncle Kenny:

    Gutsy move on the part of the ad agency and of Audi. I choose to believe they were making fun of our future eco-fascist overlords. Come on, a contraband sniffing anteater? That's funny. On the other hand, I suspect they are savvy enough to realize that any eco-fascist wannabes have no sense of humor whatsoever and will just nod along. In short, I would buy an Audi because the ad is clever (and the car is pretty good, too) and Al Gore will buy one because he thinks they're serious. Genius.

  3. m:

    Wow. I thought, at first, it was just a well-crafted criticism of how intrusive the government has been on this issue. Until the guy gets the "green light" to go ahead because he's driving an Audi. It literally chilled me.

    @Uncle Kenny: I hope that's true but they're basically positioning themselves as profiting off of government intrusiveness, so I don't think that argument holds water.

  4. Larry Sheldon:

    Audi. Germany. State control.

    How appropriate.

  5. filbert:

    On the one hand, I thought it was pretty funny . . . on the other hand, yeah, the part where the Audi gets to go around the unwashed masses was unsettling . . . on the third hand, it was a freakin' ad for a freakin' car . . . maybe it would have been better if Tim Tebow had been the driver of the Audi . . . and crashed into his mom driving a Prius . . . or something . . .

  6. Evil Red Scandi:

    I don't know. The ad creeped me out. Yeah, I thought the anteater part was good for half a chuckle, but the rest just didn't come off as a joke. And I laugh at just about anything. I've got to be one of the world's top laugh sluts. Right now I'm chuckling about not laughing at the commercial.

    My initial reaction was "wow, I feel this strange and compelling urge to go torch an Audi dealership. I must be turning into an anti-eco-terrorist." This immediately settled down into mild derision. It doesn't really matter - I wouldn't buy an Audi anyway. They break down every 15 minutes, and according to Jeremy Clarkson the only people who drive them are cocks. And we all know that Jeremy Clarkson is the final authority on all things automotive.

  7. Evil Red Scandi:

    Actually, it brings to mind PJ O'Rourke's old commentary on the Safety Nazis - people who run around with their arms up in salute shouting "Sieg Health! Sieg Health!" We've just turned our brownshirts into greenshirts.

  8. ArtD0dger:

    Yeah, they're trying to play both sides. But I have to believe the absurdity of the intrusive, petty authoritarian "dream police" will in fact far outweigh the strained interpretation that such enforcement is entirely justified. Hilarious quote from Bill G's link:

    "The ad only makes sense if it’s aimed at people who acknowledge the moral authority of the green police."

    Good luck educating the masses to that viewpoint.

  9. ArtD0dger:

    Er, "green police." Had the original song stuck in my head...

  10. nicole:

    I think ultimately this ad has failed because it has alienated what I think its target was, but I quite liked it. I definitely saw the ad as poking fun at the green police (the anteater says it all, really), and the message is: you can get around them, and you can do it with a cool diesel Audi instead of with a Prius (which would turn you into the green police yourself).

    The one who said, "The ad only makes sense if it’s aimed at people who acknowledge the moral authority of the green police," was wrong. It's not about acknowledging their moral authority, but finding a way to get them to leave you alone and you actually enjoy.

    I know the last scene has creeped a lot of people out, but I don't see how you can read the first part of the ad, between the song and the silliness, as favorable to environmentalists.

  11. Evil Red Scandi:

    Also, am I the only one who thought that the Super Bowl ads in general just sucked? The allegedly "ultra-controversial anti-abortion" ad was so toned down that I would have had no idea what the hell they were talking about if it weren't for the earlier ruckus. The only ones I found really entertaining were the Brett Favre and the Bette Davis spots.

  12. Douglas2:

    Listen to that car as he accelerates away from the checkpoint. That is not a man who is driving as if he has an egg between his foot and the throttle pedal. I know it is supposed to be a diesel, which have a reputation in this country for being noisy, but they are not trying to draw attention to that stereotype in this ad. They are saying you can flaunt your power and speed because you are in an "approved" machine.

  13. Vangel:

    I loved it. It made fun of the environmental extremists, showed viewers where we are heading if we don't smarten up about protecting civil liberties, and suggested to viewers that it makes sense to buy their cars because they are efficient and have low emissions. You need to lighten up a little and see the irony.

  14. Terry Noel:

    Until the last scene, I actually thought I was seeing the green police ridiculed on national TV. Ever heard that saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" That phrase came to mind as I saw the plug at the end.

    Funny thing, though. Judging from the wide variety of interpretations above, Audi appears to have paid someone enormous amounts of money to confuse people. Hell, I could have done that for considerably less...

  15. Henry Bowman:

    The Green police were not being ridiculed, unfortunately. Go to Audi's web site: the company is really pushing 'green'.

    I was disgusted by the advertisement. I vowed never to even consider buying an Audi after seeing the ad.

  16. Russell:

    People who liked this TV ad cherish Orwellian times, they want to be controlled. Enviro mentalists are detroying our basic freedoms. Audi has nothing to be proud off pointing out the future.

  17. Fred from Canuckistan:

    I had the exact same thought.

    Audi's are off my list. One day, when my TL dies and goes off to car heaven, I have one less dealer to bother with.

  18. Zach:

    My typical enviro-liberal sister (in that she wants everyone else to save the environment but doesn't really do much herself besides use cloth bags at the store) said "way to make environmentalism look really stupid." Because there was much tension in the air (we were all rooting for, and I had 9:1 odds on the Colts) and because I'm not really "out" with my liberal family and friends, I choked back the urge to say "no, that's pretty realistic of what environmentalist wackos want".

  19. bryan:

    I'm not sure how anyone could defend that commercial. I thought the message was pretty clear. "The enviro-fascists are taking over... so here's a cool way to go with the flow". Hmm, maybe that does explain a bit about nazi germany.

    If on the other hand at the end of the commercial the car was a huge black smoke belching monster truck that rolled over all the cars in the line and smashed through the green police roadblock, that would be an American commercial. I'd buy whatever they were selling.

    This commercial was crap.

  20. Glenn Geist:

    No, Audi will never get my business. Ever. That ad made we want to kick in my TV...and also to hope that some of the "Eco-Police" shown would get shot. Until and unless we're willing to do what it takes to throw off our oppressors, we're going to have this stuff slammed down our throats. Audi is big in the American Le Mans Series with their diesel sports car, and I've previously e-mailed their President to let him know that I'll NEVER watch another ALMS race due to their green stance on racing. I watch EVERY other racing series on earth, but the ALMS is off my radar because of their environmental positions.

  21. Matthew:

    The ad was kind of funny, but it seemed more like a satirical ad for a Prius (e.g. from SNL or The Onion) than an actual ad from a company trying to sell me their car. At the end I found myself thinking that I don't give a flip if the Green Police approved of my car.

  22. Doug:

    I think it was an attempt at parody and found it hopeful. Audi seemed to be trying to make fun of Green Correctness and in the public arena ridicule is nearly always more effective than criticism.

  23. artemis:

    They threaded a line fairly well. They appealed to multiple audiences. People on our side seem to think it was a parody and the green nuts think it was serious.

  24. Greg:

    The ad turned me off, because the eco-nazi images were too close to reality. Still, the ad caused a lot of discussion, which is great for branding and might result in a few sales to the greens.

    Also, green or not, Audi still makes this lust-worthy machine:

  25. Barak A. Pearlmutter:

    What a bunch of humourless dorks lurk hereabouts!

    The point of the commercial was that the guy got a "pass" from the "green police" by driving a cool *Audi*.

    They exaggerated the green police, and made a pretty subtle but powerfully subversive point in the process. (Is this where we want to go? Have we already gone too far down this authoritarian road with govt enforced eco-correctness? This is where we already are with the drug police, isn't that even worse, shouldn't we stop those authoritarian abuses too?)

    But the main point was a *pun*. The guy with the *Audi* got a "pass"! From the Green Police!