|Why Audi's Super Bowl Ad Failed
As the determined little girl steered her homemade go-kart and zipped past the all-male competition, her father worried darkly over the challenges she’d face when she entered the workforce. “Do I tell her that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?” The 60-second Audi ad, which aired during last night’s Super Bowl, meant to demonstrate to viewers that the German automaker is committed to gender equality in the workplace.
Instead, the ad’s downbeat message turned off more people than it inspired. It also drew attention to Audi’s own record on gender equality, which is mixed at best. And it highlighted the perils that come with an attempt to hitch a corporate identity to a controversial social issue. The YouTube video of the ad has logged more dislikes (59,000) than likes (47,000). “Some of that [negative reaction] comes from a perception of a manufacturer and seller of products trying to grab an issue and align with it for their own gain,” says Julie Hennessy, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Audi’s U.S. marketing director Loren Angelo defends the ad’s approach. “Audi is a brand that has always used the creative storytelling platform that the Super Bowl provides to talk about the brand, talk about our position and provide a point of view,” he says. Past Audi Super Bowl ads have fared better. Last year’s spot, which featured a retired astronaut who feels rejuvenated by driving an Audi R8, received rave reviews from AdAge and Vogue.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post.
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