Audi, which ran serious Super Bowl ads in its previous two appearances, is going for laughs this year in an ad plugging its electric vehicle ambitions. By pivoting to humor this year, Audi is following the path of a lot of other advertisers that are avoiding tackling anything remotely political.
The 60-second ad by Venables Bell & Partners opens with a shot of a man walking through a field to meet his grandfather who takes him to a garage and shows him an all-electric Audi e-tron GT concept car. The scene is way too corny to be true, and turns out it is not. It was all a vision the man had while choking on a cashew at work. The spot concludes with the message, "A thrilling future awaits. On Earth. One third of all new Audi models will be electrified by 2025."
The ad, released online today, will air in the second quarter on Sunday. Audi's e-tron GT concept is expected to go into production in two years. The e-tron SUV, which makes a cameo in the ad, is scheduled to hit showrooms in the second quarter of this year.
"Audi has a history of creative that reflects what's happening in American culture," Loren Angelo, VP of Marketing at Audi of America, said in a statement. "With the story of electrification growing, we wanted to introduce the e-tron to viewers, but also leave them with a memorable ending, and ultimately, get them excited about an electric future."
Audi sat out last year's game. It appeared in 2017 with an ad called "Daughter" that promoted equal pay for women and men. The spot proved polarizing, with some critics calling attention to the majority-male makeup of the brand's executive team. It drew plenty of praise, too, and finished third in USA Today's Ad Meter ranking. In 2016 the brand ran an emotional spot that portrayed a retired astronaut reliving his glory days in space.
The last time Audi took a lighthearted approach was in the 2014 game when its ad depicted a couple that compromises on their choice of dog, cross-breeding a Doberman with a Chihuahua to yield a Doberhuahua.