Audi will sit out the Super Bowl after appearing in the game the previous two years. The luxury brand was one of the few remaining big auto marketers that had not confirmed its plans as of Thursday, but a spokeswoman today confirmed Audi won't be coming back.
"[The] Super Bowl and the NFL remain important platforms for reaching our customers. This year, we're focusing our marketing efforts later in the year when our new models reach the market," she said in an email.
Audi in the 2017 game ran a 60-second spot called "Daughter" by Venables Bell & Partners promoting equal pay for men and women that drew praise but also some backlash, with some critics pointing to the majority-male makeup of the brand's executive team. But Audi executives were pleased with the ad, which achieved a third-place ranking on the USA Today Ad Meter.
"Elevating a topic like pay equality on a national stage was bound to spark conversation and drive awareness, which was the goal," Loren Angelo, VP of marketing at Audi of America, recently told Ad Age. "We think the spot nailed it. When you see high-profile individuals like Sheryl Sandberg and Ashton Kutcher re-posting the spot, you know you've struck a chord."
Audi is one of multiple auto brands that have decided not to come back after running ads in last year's game. Barring last-minute surprises, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Ford appear poised to remain on the sidelines after appearing the 2017 Super Bowl. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a regular Super Bowl advertiser, has yet to confirm its plans. FCA Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois has a habit of making last-minute decisions, while choosing from work submitted by a variety of agencies.
Prior to this year, Audi had advertised in nine of the previous 10 Super Bowls, only sitting out 2015's game. Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi, also does not plan to advertise its flagship VW brand in the game. It has not appeared in the Super Bowl since 2014.
Subaru will continue its tradition of ignoring the game in favor of sponsoring Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl." The automaker is plugging its sponsorship with a series of videos, including "Training Camp Confidential," which shows puppies training for their big moment.