The consumer car industry is always brimming with competition. Cars are a unique consumer good, in that, people develop a strong attachment to their cars. After all, it is like living in a home away from home when one is travelling in one’s car. For this reason, car manufacturers tap into deep-rooted psychological hooks and insecurities to impress their brand image on customers. We can witness in all car advertisements how marketers try to tap into a car user’s psychology to create brand equity. The same is true of the ad chosen for this essay. It is a 30 second Audi commercial accessible at
The ad runs for a mere 30 seconds but it encompasses layers of meaning and connotations. Using four car keys as the only props, the ad illustrates or interprets the meaning of the logo of Audi. The four inter-locked circles that form a chain is Audi’s logo and it is reminiscent somewhat of the Olympic Games logo. These days, marketers do not look to specify the technical attributes of a car, but instead use attractive captions and images to create a feel-good response from the potential customer. This observation can be extended to the Audi ad, for in its brief time span, it does not address core specifications. Instead it talks about generalized perceptions and popular impressions of Audi and its competitors.
What the ad competently achieves is to convert the logo into an emblem. Lexically, a logo is a graphic illustration of a company’s name or brand. It need not stand for a deeper meaning. On the other hand, an emblem is like a talisman. It encompasses or represents a set of values and virtues. In this sense, the ad succeeds in showcasing the logo of the Audi as an emblem. Whenever people come across the logo in the future, these added meanings to it will come to mind for the audience. By associating strong ideas behind the ubiquitous logo of the brand, a strong relationship between visual perception and emotional recall of the symbol is achieved. The key to successful advertising is to tap into and manipulate the emotional response of the audience. In this regard, the Audi ad is quite outstanding.
Another smart feature of the ad is how it attacks several competing brands in one swift stroke. In as little a time as 30 seconds, major competitors to Audi, including Mercedes, BMW, etc are painted as deficient. Each of these major brands are shown to be one dimensional. For example, one is synonymous with ‘safety’, the other is equated to ‘comfort’, yet another with ‘sportiness’ and the fourth with ‘design’. However, if a consumer wants all these features bundled into their car then Audi is the way to go, the ad suggests. This is brilliant idea from the creators of the ad. Using a minimal of actors, props or costs, the ad makes a big statement. If good advertisement is all about making maximum impact with minimum expenditure of resources, then the Audi ad qualifies as a superlative example.
The ad is an excellent example of making every second count. These days, car manufacturers are attempting to find ever more engaging or glamorous dressing up for new models as the competition is very intense. Every second must be made to count and there is no time to be wasted. The key here is to make the message interesting while also being informative. The ad in discussion is satisfactory on these counts.
The ad fits perfectly with the broader marketing philosophy adopted by Audi. The company has been a pioneer in exploring marketing niches in emerging media. In many ways its multi-pronged marketing strategy target audiences through television and Internet. In fact, the luxury car brand was a pioneer in making video ad campaigns on internet-connected TVs in the UK. Its campaigns, which are handled by WPP media agency and MediaCom, had made available “an Audi channel through connected TVs, with content similar to that on the Audi.tv website.” (“Audi Blazes Trail in,” 2011, p. 3) Such an integrated marketing approach is typical of Audi’s marketing culture, which is always trying to identify novel ways to launch vehicles. The ad being discussed is similar in spirit and effect to that of its A7 Sportback model campaign. The latter successful campaign was captioned ‘Imagination meets Engineering’. It would not be out of place to adapt the same caption to the chosen ad as well. The best way to gauge the effectiveness of these ads is by looking at the revenues and market share they’ve helped to grow. In the UK, for example, thanks in large to these successful ad campaigns, new registrations for Q1 2011 rose by 4.9%. Likewise, the market share too rose by 5.9%. (“Audi Blazes Trail in,” 2011, p. 3)
Hence, the Audi ad is brilliant in conception, optimal in its audio-visual expression and delivers a powerful message to the audience. It satisfies this assessment through several measures. First, though the ad runs for only 30 seconds it packs layers of meaning and symbolisms. Likewise, the ad is able to convert the logo into an emblem. It also cleverly attacks several other competing brands within the short duration. Also, the ad is an excellent illustration of making every second count. And, finally, the ad is consistent with the broader marketing vision of the company.
“Audi Blazes Trail in UK Internet-TV Advertising.” Marketing 20 Apr. 2011: 3.
What Do You Want in a Car? Audi Commercial. Web. 8 February. 2014.