Amidst the typical oddity of Doritos and Mountain Dew commercials at Super Bowl this year was an incredible spot by Audi. The 1:00 video starts on an older man refusing to eat dinner. His son enters the home, and proceeds to see his father sitting alone and unhappy in the corner of the living room. The father is actually an astronaut from the 1960’s space program suffering from depression in the modern era. With this in mind, the son playfully refers to his father as, “commander,” and asks him to come outside. The commander is transfixed by the Audi R8 his son owns, and as he starts up the vehicle, “Starman,” by the late David Bowie begins playing in the background. The commander has flashbacks to his space launch as a young astronaut, and a smile creeps over his face.
The spot ends leaving the audience full of feels. Pretty wonderful advertisement, not just in general, but especially because it’s for a car. As an advertiser it’s difficult to quickly and accurately inform the consumer why they should purchase a car without sounding like a salesman at a lot. Audi bridges that gap with the narrative of this depressed commander reliving the thrill of life through his son’s R8. The combination of family, impressive auto engineering, and juuuust a touch of David Bowie is a cocktail ready for the masses to enjoy. That’s just what we did too, as the spot is closing in on the 9 million views mark on Youtube just one week after being posted.
Earned media was everywhere from social media posts between friends to tweets from magazines like WIRED. In general, the spot earned a lot of social media coverage, and hit their target demographic too, I believe. The R8 certainly isn’t cheap, but the emotional angle the spot went with coupled with the portrayal of the son helping the father is alluding to the sentiments many guys in the successful 28 – 44 year age bracket feel towards their aging parents. As I see it the commercial improved the overall image of Audi.