Audi’s third consecutive Super Bowl appearance (a streak that would continue for another four games) introduced viewers to the Green Police, who overzealously track your carbon footprint to a soundtrack by Cheap Trick, which reworked its classic song “Dream Police” to match the message.
The spot via Venables, Bell & Partners is funny, and the Audi A3 TDI is a fine-looking Get Out of Jail Free car(d). But the song likely gave the ad extra staying power for viewers. That was Audi’s intent, at a minimum. “We have no doubt that viewers will walk away from the Super Bowl with that song playing in their heads,” Scott Keogh, then Audi of America’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement before the game. “It is certain to make the environmental message behind the Green Police ad hard to forget.”
Some observers naturally found the specter of environmental cops all too frightening, with online comments including the likes of this, according to David Roberts at Grist.com: “You guys all laugh. But this is really going to happen. Wake up people! Stop being sheep!” Roberts argued, however, that the ad supports environmentalism. “The thrill at the end, when the guy gets to accelerate away from the crowd, turns on satisfying the green police -- not rejecting or circumventing them, but satisfying their strict standards,” he wrote then.
The ad was a hit with viewers on game day. Although first-quarter spots took up five of the top 10 slots on USA Today's annual Ad Meter panel gauging entertainment value, "Green Police" took sixth place, one of only two fourth-quarter ads to do so.
Audi parent Volkswagen also used Super Bowl XLIV to promote brand VW with "Punch Dub."
AGENCY: Venables Bell & Partners
QUARTER AIRED: Q4