Electric Goes Audi – Spark Or Fizzle?

Audi’s work over the last few years with BBH won the IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix, and their winning paper is some seriously impressive work – sharp insight, focused planning and an attention to media detail that’s a worthy match to the “Vorsprung Durch Technik” brand itself. Reading it, you get a sense of how exciting it was for intelligent planners to rise to the challenge of communicating an intelligent brand in an immediate and evocative fashion.

The highest-scoring UK Audi ad in System1 Ad Ratings was also the campaign cited in the IPA paper as achieving the highest score on the brand’s chosen ad metric. “React” was a very high 3-Star ad – an excellent performance for a spot which is so focused on the product’s technical capabilities.

It’s an excellent case study for the use of music in an ad – the BBH planners write about how they wanted to use elements like music to undercut the brand’s seriousness with “charm”, and the use of a croaky-voiced Wizard of Oz cover certainly does that, mixing a poignant familiarity into what would have been a dour ad.

But Audi’s latest campaign goes a different route. This is their worldwide “Electric Goes Audi” spot, created by a US agency for a global launch. It’s brash, confident and exciting, using footage of Elvis and Muhammad Ali to argue that first doesn’t mean much when it’s up against best. (A shot at the famously non-advertising Tesla, surely.)

How do Ad Ratings’ UK consumers feel about it? It’s also a 3-Star ad, though only just – it sneaks over the line. This is still a strong result and should continue to help the brand grow. But compared to the style and minimalism of “React” it feels a little cluttered, with heavy voiceover bludgeoning, rather than seducing, the viewer.

We’ll continue to keep watch on Audi, and all other UK car brands, in the Ad Ratings service.

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