By on February 2, 2017

The Internet is in the proverbial tizzy about Audi’s “feminist” Super Bowl advertisement, in which the automaker comes out in favor of equal pay for women.

At first blush, the spot seems to be nothing but the usual corporate slacktivism, a feel-good fluff-vertorial making a “brave stand” in support of an issue that was decided long ago. I’m reminded of Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliant portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator, arriving in full armor as soon as he can do so without any risk. “Father, have I missed the battle?” Well, Audi, you’ve missed the war; if there’s a place in the United States where women are actually paid significantly less for doing the same job as men, it’s not evident from what I’m reading.

After watching the one-minute advertisement carefully, however, I understood feminism, or equal pay, is the last thing Audi wants you to take away from it. The message is far subtler, and more powerful, than the dull recitation of the pseudo-progressive catechism droning on in the background. This spot is visual — and as you’ll see below, you can’t understand it until you watch it and see what it’s really telling you.

Let me tell you up front: chances are you won’t like what Audi has to say.

The scene is a “soapbox derby” race. Not the real Soapbox Derby, mind you; that’s a highly competitive event held on a nationwide basis involving both young boys and young girls almost equally. Nor is it a kart race, despite the fact there are plenty of very skilled girls in youth karting. The cynic in me says it wouldn’t serve the message to show a real sport where girls are already a big part of the story. To find a world where girls are the underdog in youth racing, we need to go to the past.

And that’s why this fake race is shot in a location, and in a visual language, deliberately evocative of Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” It’s that same anonymous California landscape, the same dust in the air, the same scrub-brush-lined roads to nowhere. This race doesn’t happen in 2017; it happens in 1982. This is the youth of today’s 50-year-old Audi buyer, not the way it was but the way it was shown to them way back when. It certainly worked on me; I felt the immediate tug of nostalgia for a place I’d never been. As the narrator starts to drone on about “What will I tell my daughter … ” the camera starts scanning the grid.

Let’s meet the first racer. The visual language here is so careful. It’s a boy — older, thuggish, wearing a converted catcher’s mask. And he’s fat. Remember that in the modern idiom, the cherished assumption set of the Eloi, fat means poor.

Generic Fat Thug Kid #2. This one looks almost like a sumo wrestler; his skin is dark.

Ah, here’s Dad, the “Mary Sue” of Audi customers. The tallest person in the crowd — tall means rich — and effortlessly handsome, dressed in the exercise mufti of the NorCal leisure set. Note that he’s surrounded by black people, who are shorter and smaller than him. As we’ll see, there are no black kids in this race. The African-Americans are just here to play a supporting role. It’s fabulously, hilariously racist, but it’s only visible for a moment, just enough to reconfirm your subliminal perceptions.

Let’s start this race. It’s a nice touch that a child throws the flag; the suggestion is that this event was put on by the kids, the way Scot Breithaupt started the first BMX races in the sunny SoCal Seventies.

Is this the daughter of our handsome protagonist? Don’t get it twisted; the dad, not the daughter, is our protagonist. The daughter is an object of desire. Not sexual desire, but objective desire. She’s something you want to have, not the person you want to be. But I doubt this is the daughter. Let’s look at the visual language. She’s got a coarse, chunky prole face, obvious braces, and an old-style varsity jacket. In other words, she’s poor, just like the fat boys. And just in case you can’t read the message, they’ve actually put stripper glitter on her face — or the suggestion of it, at least.

The inclusion of this other girl seems like a staggering error, because she gets dusted right at the start of the race. If this story is about girls overcoming all odds, then having another girl who is at the back of the pack doesn’t serve the narrative. But the narrative, I assure you, is quite operational. Have you figured out yet what this spot is really about?

In a quick shot, we see the real daughter, shown at the top of this post. She’ll obviously be a gorgeous woman when she grows up. Now let’s meet her first opponent: a Traditional American Boy Right Down To The Fucking Peter Fonda Captain America Helmet! This is the enemy. Isn’t that a lovely inversion, and isn’t it so in line with that modern catechism? He sneers at her — she’s just a girl. Yet his glee doesn’t last long; she gets around him in a hurry. Then we get a beautiful, evocative shot of the landscape. Presumably there’s a bunch of kids on Kuwahara BMX bikes riding around the next hill over.

Uh-oh. In the words of the infamous rap song, the fat boys are back. Look at this kid. Look at the vacant expression of malice. If you want to know how the upper-middle class sees their inferiors, this is a good snapshot of it.

Let’s get another shot of the kid so you can see just how chunky he is. Chunky means poor.

He’s about to smash the heroine, but right as the narrator says “intelligence,” she pulls some sort of milled-aluminum E-brake much like the one you’d see in a half-million-dollar rallycross car. See the “Do Not Attempt” at the bottom of the screen? I can’t tell if that’s the lawyers at work or a bit of subtle brilliance from the filmmakers.

Disaster for the fat boy! Note the quick shot of a skull and crossbones on his car. What, is this some kind of tween-aged death race? And why are there two kids in another one of the cars? Oh, wait, I know. This is another movie evocation from the same era: The Road Warrior. Again I’m gobsmacked by the brilliance of whoever directed this spot. The visual language is a perfect shorthand of the Mel Gibson disaster flick: remember the chunky, mean-mugged bad guy and the cars that had two people in them for no reason?

It’s the kid in first. Again, if you’re up to date on your Mad Max characters, you’ll recognize the Bruce Spence “Gyro Pilot” character from Road Warrior and Thunderdome. Narrow face, crazed expression, unnecessary goggles. Well, we know he’s going to lose and the girl is going to win.

Which she does, and now we return to the dad. In yet another brilliantly subtle bit of shot selection, the black “allies” around him have disappeared. Did they get bored? Instead, we have a hillbilly dad: baseball cap, ringer-style T-shirt, gritty poor-folks face like “Rowdy” in Days of Thunder. And boy, is he pissed. He takes his hat off and makes an angry motion. He must be the white-trash dad of one, or more, of the fat white-trash kids with their football war paint. It’s a short but massively effective shot. The good white people win, the bad white people lose.

There’s some great acting here, even if it’s a little squicky with all of the rapt devotion. If you can find a girl who looks at you like that… marry her.

Having won the race against all odds, it’s time to quit the scene and get back to the gated community.

I assume the car is here because the client demanded that the product be shown, if only for three seconds. It’s actually a really lousy thing to do to the ad agency, because not only is a modern Audi absolutely incongruous in this 1982 dreamland, it raises an unpleasant question: Where’s the soapbox car? But even if you assume that the hicks who run this impromptu sanction seized it for technical inspection afterwards — I sure as hell would, it ran from near-last to first, doing that shit in Spec Miata will earn you a free engine teardown — it raises yet another, more difficult question: How’d the soapbox derby car get to the race in the first place?

There’s only one logical answer to that question: Super Dad and Super Daughter have a pit crew, some group of dingy, unsung mechanics who bring the car to the race the same way that my main man John Shevel preps and hauls my Neon to races so I can swan up in my 911 at the very last minute, throw on a helmet, and screw up my qualifying session. That’s what this supportive, high-net-worth feminist dad and his genetically superior daughter did: just like any good progressive Eloi, they outsourced the greasy work to the Morlocks. And that’s a shame, because if you ask any competent Soap Box Derby participant, they’ll tell you the race is won in the prep shop, not at the hill.

Well, if you’ve been reading along, I think you’ve figured out what the real message of this Audi advertisement is, but just in case you’ve been napping I will spell it out for you: Money and breeding always beat poor white trash. Those other kids in the race, from the overweight boys to the hick who actually had an American flag helmet to the stripper-glitter girl? They never had a chance. They’re losers and they always will be, just like their loser parents. Audi is the choice of the winners in today’s economy, the smooth talkers who say all the right things in all the right meetings and are promoted up the chain because they are tall (yes, that makes a difference) and handsome without being overly masculine or threatening-looking.

At the end of this race, it’s left to the Morlocks to clean the place up and pack the derby cars into their trashy pickup trucks, while the beautiful people stride off into the California sun, the natural and carefree winners of life’s lottery. Audi is explicitly suggesting that choosing their product will identify you as one of the chosen few. I find it personally offensive. As an owner of one of the first 2009-model-year Audi S5s to set tire on American soil, yet also as an ugly, ill-favored child who endured a scrappy Midwestern upbringing, I find it much easier to identify with the angry-faced fat kids in their home-built specials or the boy with the Captain America helmet.

At the end, what does this ad do? It just reinforces our natural biases. Poor is bad, rich is good, and most importantly, rich people deserve their fortune because they are inherently better than the rest of us. You might not like that message, but it’s been selling cars for a very long time. If Audi wanted to try some authentic activism, they might consider showing us an African-American man or woman who overcame a tough upbringing to become an actual customer, or perhaps a differently-abled person who’s achieved enough to buy himself an S8 as a reward for his hard work. But that’s not terribly aspirational, is it? Who wants to be those people? And, by the same token, who wouldn’t want to be that handsome father lifting his beautiful daughter out of someone else’s winning race car?

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272 Comments on “The Real Message Behind Audi’s Super Bowl Ad Isn’t Exactly An Uplifting One...”


  • avatar
    davewg

    TL;DR – don’t buy an Audi because their subtle advertising reinforces typical stereotypes.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I took it to be representative of our Führer taking Ivanka to a derby race back in the 1980s. He is loyally surrounded by his African Americans. Luckily the fat trash fell in line and became the base. I am very happy with the Supreme Court pick. With a libertarian Justice public sector unions will become right to work and the fat trash making six figures because they lucked into a government jobs (e.g. the FOP that endorsed our Führer) will be put in their place.

      And lol at this guy that always brags about his height and college now pretending to be with the fat kids.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        The US just had a prez who got a Nobel Peace for doing nothing and left office (after effectively doubling the national debt of all his predecessors] while actually bragging that he was the longest serving WAR prez since FDR.

        The guy who went to Europe and campaigned ag/ Brexit (helping Brexit win), destabilized the MidEast (making Russia and Iran great again) and pushed the Philippines into the arms of a surging China. After that amazing recored 0 then helped defeat his chosen successor by tirelessly campaigning for her w/ the slogan that HIS policies were on the ballot.

        And did the previous Fuhrer go away? No he’s breaking decorum again by mouthing off and supporting the rioters against the election winner in DC and no doubt the rioters against free speech at colleges.

        In 2018 33 Senators are up and only 8 are GOP. I suspect the DEM temper tantrums are gonna result in a total Dem meltdown on all levels.

        As for Audis, how are those big discounts doing? Audi wants to get away from that, but that’s always better said than done in an overly mature market recovery.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig Hater

      Nothing but prefabricated poppycock there. Please next time please just try selling me a car and leave out all the symbolism and crap that comes with it.

    • 0 avatar
      KevinBA4

      Jack,

      I signed up for this site just so I could compliment you on this article. I bought my first Audi, the 2017 A4, last May. I love the car, but this ad has really tarnished by view of the brand. Your deconstruction of it is pure genius: bald-faced pandering to the entitled class using equal pay as a smoke-screen. Perfect!

      I think it will be fun to spend some time here.

      Best,

      Kevin

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    “Oh, you want the ‘People’s Car’? Go around to the back door, they’ll take care of you there.”

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Naw, I’ll just go over to the Honda store.

      Mid-level Civics with Honda Sensing are going for like $20k, and they’re really nice. Plus, they can be expected to provide useful transportation beyond the warranty period. Why go German when you can go generic?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I just saw the new A5 Sportback, and it’s gorgeous.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      The A5’s used to be the ‘exception that proves my rule’ when it comes to my theory that Audi designers can only design a box with rounded corners.
      And the new version is sadly a bit closer to a box with rounded corners. (An exception for the guy who does the lights, but he probably works for Bosch or Hella or some random supplier)

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Good to see that liberal arts colleges are still teaching kids to de-code German propaganda.

    Of course, any commercial like this is subject to this sort of analysis. It’s telling that a Baruth boy would select the commercial with feminist themes for this treatment.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Is it as telling that the analysis suggests the “feminist themes” are a thin smokescreen?

      (I mean, God knows Jack can be simply wrong.

      But if the intent was just “girls can win a retro race just fine” – feminist and unobjectionable – why the rest of it, the way it is?)

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Its telling that you so effortlessly spin it into troll bait, as well.

      Congrats.

      I suppose its just as telling that I’m here to call you on it, but hey, we play the cards we’re delt.

      • 0 avatar
        Rochester

        And that’s exactly what he did. Troll bait.

        TTAC is becoming more and more like an angry Morlock every day. Pretty sure I’m just a few more articles like this away from deleting it from my favorites. Sometimes the fail at TTAC exceeds the win.

        If anybody is actually listening… Talk. About. Cars. All this other nonsense just p1sses people off. And for the love of god, please give the axe to any potential article that has even a whiff of the White House to it.

        /rant

        • 0 avatar
          2drsedanman

          “Pretty sure I’m just a few more articles like this away from deleting it from my favorites.”–Rochester

          I was getting ready to click out of this article when I read your comment. You are so right. I used to like coming here to read about cars. I think I will take a break from here for a while. All the politics, social justice commentary, and people getting “triggered” is frankly, tiring. I can read that type of shit anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I have been taking a break from TTAC.

            I like to analyze the way Trump is Making America Ridiculous Again as much as anybody. But sometimes I just want to read about something else for a change. TTAC used to be that something else.

            Alas, Trump & Co’s poor grasp of economics, trade, and rigerous decision making processes does affect the automotive industry, so I guess there’s no escaping it.

            So, I’m making an effort to tune out now and then.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      VoGo – virtue signaling is only a problem when done by the left.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Exactly.

        Left: We should stop discriminating against gays, women, African Americans,…
        Right: NO! You’re a virtue signaling SJW and therefore everything you say is meaningless!

        Right: We should stop discriminating against short guys
        Left: ???

  • avatar
    ajla

    You have spent so much money on VW Empire vehicles that I hold you personally responsible.

    Renounce your ways and purchase an American V10 product.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      There’s a story there… I’ll tell it some time. :)

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Were you the psycho that told us the FWD A6 2.0T was good or was that Stevenson?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I ain’t never driven one, brah.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          It wouldn’t have been me. I was issued one as a loaner by the Audi dealer. I’m usually all about driving slow cars fast, but the A6 2.0T was less fun to drive than any number of 2.4 or 2.5 liter family sedans. The funny thing is that my power-mad business partner thought the 2.0T was just fine. Sure, he knows about as much about cars as most people who had no interest in cars until a woman told him that his Dodge Magnum R/T made him look poor, but he was sold by the powerful feel of various 3.0T Audi quattros relative to their competitors, all of which would have made an A6 2.0T look like it had water in its gas tank.

      • 0 avatar
        Siebertws13

        Registered simply to say this was the single best piece of advertising criticism I read about any of the Superb Owl commercials. Brilliant, and bravo.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Like a U-Haul E350 box van!

      (Autocorrect wanted box van to be Bosnian.

      Amused me.)

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        (At least I hear better things about the Ford Triton V10 than I’ve heard and experienced with the V8.)

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Well, I can tell you it sounds as joyously energetic as a non-Diesel UPS truck.

          And that it will last beyond 100k putting up with abuse like you’ve never dreamed. It was a logging crew truck. I personally got air in it more than once. (I also bounced a huge tool box off the Chevy one time, but to be fair, I was told that I had to drive through the flooded section of the trail at full speed to make it through. Since I had already been pulled out after sinking on a soft shoulder earlier that day in the RWD only truck, I decided “full speed” meant as fast as the poor bastard would possibly go in 3rd. Just as I heard the engine scream “we’re givin it all she’s got, captain!” or something like that, I hit a rut and bounced up on the side of the gully like a whale beaching itself, but with the momentum, I had made it.)

          I honestly think he rebuilt it too early (it was well past 100k), because it wasn’t long before it started acting up again, and this time we took it upon ourselves to solve the issue…which ended up being about a half a pound of sand in the fuel tank.

          The company that owned and maintained the fuel tanks at the shop where all equipment and trucks were fueled were called to do their phucking job. I wish I would’ve been there to hear that phone call. But, I changed the filter on the gasoline tank one that day since we had one.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Did the Chevy dent?

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            It was a very thick flat bed, so no.

            I was driving it when its stock bed had its fender torn to shreds by a rear tire blowout at about 55-60. Uncle put a thick iron flatbed on it after that. It ended up with a huge diesel tank on it to fuel off-road equipment.

  • avatar
    don1967

    “in support of an issue that was decided long ago”

    THANK you.

  • avatar
    everybodyhatesscott

    ‘Note that he’s surrounded by black people, who are shorter and smaller than him. As we’ll see, there are no black kids in this race. The African-Americans are just here to play a supporting role. It’s fabulously, hilariously racist, but it’s only visible for a moment, just enough to reconfirm your subliminal perceptions.’

    They couldn’t have had a commercial without any black people because that would have violated the requirement that all commercials be diverse and they couldn’t have a white girl beat the black kids because that would have been overtly racist so they put them in the background.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I guess it’s not possible that African Americans could want to watch some kids racing their home built cars or that they might be friends of the family, or even part of the family. None of that is remotely possible.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        But its somehow super likely that all the black kids in the neighborhood would take absolutely NO interest in this, amirite?

        The fact Audi carefully crafted this dreck with lots of ugly white proles (and only ugly white proles) for its heroine to beat is glaringly obvious.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Such good friends that they dipped halfway through a 45-second race.

        Not that I haven’t had friends like that myself.

      • 0 avatar
        2manycars

        Maybe it depends on what part of Africa they’re from.

      • 0 avatar
        everybodyhatesscott

        Nobody goes to watch other peoples kids do crap unless they’re family. And white people and black people usually aren’t related. That scene has literally never happened in real life especially considering they magically disappear. If I started showing up at random little league games, people would probably surmise I’m a pervert.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “And white people and black people usually aren’t related.”

          My wife’s cousins in South Georgia are working hard to fix that! Nice kids, though.

          There are definitely some people in my family who are related to both black and white people.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Well, there’s not much to add is there. Que me adding a bunch of stuff, then realizing it would turn into a small booklet explaining in laymans terms and in as few characters as possible how the capitalist consumer world we live in shaped us into easily defined classes so that we can sell different tier products to each class, ending with me dooming the western world or hoping that Wall-E saves us from ourselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      As a note, as a student of history, people want to classify and self-classify and aspire and group-identity all over and at all times.

      “Capitalism” is implicated now because we have (vague, corrupted, often only so-called) capitalism.

      If we didn’t, the same grouping activity and classing would happen … via whatever paradigm we had operating.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Jack,
    Brave of you to stick tall bias out there (as a height-blessed person yourself). I think the average is much more manlet (as I am) and corporate America definitely agrees, as does Hollywood and many women (dang it).

    Great analysis. My fairly useless media degree was the last time I’ve seen a great storyboard breakdown like this. I doubt most of their audience has any idea just HOW much frame-by-frame work goes into crafting a message intended to steer buyer behavior. Even if any of your reads aren’t spot-on with their intentions (and I think they are), I guarantee hours of arguing around tables went into every scene and prop detail.

    If I can add some importance to a point you briefly mention “Having won the race against all odds”…it’s underdog complex! As you can read all over the web right now, Americans LOVE an underdog, and Audi knows this. Admittedly, I loved them for surviving the nonsense with the 5000. It’s in our stories, our movies, our sci-fi (Star Wars), and deeply in our self-image. We love teams that shouldn’t have a chance in the big game. We do NOT want to be seen as winning by unfair advantage or birthright, and that includes those of a more, um, Yuppie-ish persuasion. Dad: “Just because I had Norcal parents of means who put me in private school, taught me subtle tactics and tricks to the system, got me SAT tutors and helped me work hard and climb the ladder to a point where I can purchase a German sedan worth more than these kids houses does NOT mean I’m not the underdog hero here!”

    Anyway, great write-up.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Doing some research for this, I noticed that while the adjusted male/female pay gap is quoted at 5.4 percent, the pay gap between the shortest and tallest men ranges from 9 to 15 percent.

      Where’s the Audi ad with a short kid, I ask you?

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Yeah! Why should dames get the same pay as us?! I means, they’s nuthin’ more than a discarded man’s rib in a skirt.

    OK yous, meet me over at the He_Man Woman Hater’s Club!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It’s not nearly as big as the splashy headline numbers — it’s more like 5% — but the pay gap for similar jobs is real, and gets bigger the higher you go up the ladder. No one has a good handle on the explanation; people tend to blame differences in negotiation styles, shorter average tenure, and outright discrimination, but that’s speculative.

    http://www.hawaii.edu/religion/courses/Gender_Wage_Gap_Report.pdf

    (and that’s one of a whole lot of reports and studies reaching roughly the same conclusion)

    Too bad about that part; the rest of the piece is really perceptive and I agree wholeheartedly.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      As I noted in another response, the pay gap for height is almost three times the pay gap for gender.

      Don’t even get me started on the pay gap for being overweight or unattractive. :)

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        bizarre way to ask for a raise?

        (kidding!)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        As someone who is exactly average for an American male at not quite 5’10” but in a career that requires talking to an awful lot of Tall Executive Types With Good Hair (both male and female), I’m all too aware of the height gap. It’s not OK either.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I’m currently working a contract in a Fortune 500 corporation.

          Every single person in my 300-person department who is taller than me is at least a vice president.

          Every.
          Single.
          Person.

          The only people at director level and above who are NOT taller than me are highly fit women.

          I’ve seriously considered injecting my son with HGH to boost him from the 87th percentile to the C-suite.

          • 0 avatar
            SaulTigh

            I’m right at 6 ft tall, but overweight (have been all my life). I’ve managed to rise into middle management, but will go no further. There are no chubby executives in my company. My director is the tallest person in my area and looks like a 45 year old Rick Rossovich. My VP is the single most energetic woman I’ve ever known. You could bang quarters off her ass all day long and every time I’ve ever seen her in public she’s been in spandex work out gear. All very nice, very smart people, but they got the looks for sure and winning the genetic lottery never hurts.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            hell, 25 years ago a Dilbert comic had this dialogue:

            “Dilbert, I’d like you to meet Ben, our newest fast-track manager. Ben has no real experience, but he’s very tall so we know he’ll go far.”

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “similar jobs”

      There you go, obscuring the language to make us think that they aren’t paid equally when the jobs truly are identical.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This commercial must have been produced before the election.

    Audi was assuming that Hillary was going to win, and by now we’d be bombarded by daily pitches from the White House about how women are mistreated in the workplace. Here comes Audi to the rescue with a stunning demonstration of virtue signaling.

    Never mind that it’s already illegal to pay a woman less for the same work as a man; the “income gap” has been thoroughly debunked.

    Since Audi didn’t have time to produce a new commercial preaching about how “we’re a nation of immigrants” or some other worthless tripe, they decided to run this ad which is completely off topic in the current political environment.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’re supposed to put milk on those Wheaties, not vinegar.

    • 0 avatar
      whitworth

      “Never mind that it’s already illegal to pay a woman less for the same work as a man; the “income gap” has been thoroughly debunked.”

      Of course, It has to do far more with career decisions and child rearing than anything.
      Like in the commercial example, how many girls want to be race car drivers when they grow up. But people LOVE to be victims.

      I’ve said for a while, if women truly were getting 70 cents on the dollar or whatever the silly figure is, a greedy business person would FIRE all of their male employees and get far more for their dollar only hiring women with zero men in the company.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Citibank in Japan did essentially that 20+ years ago. They noticed that all the men graduating from the best schools were fought over by the big banks, but the women were ignored and considered ‘tea ladies.’ So Citi started hiring all the brainy women, who happened to be the most talented, and built one of the most profitable banking franchises in Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      Good point Master.

      Ads of this nature are usually planned out months in advance; every detail thought out; every character carefully cast; storyline carefully tweaked.

      Multiply all the above times three if you’re on the Super Bowl.

      Having spent a few years writing, storyboarding and shooting basic local TV commercials with a highly-creative agency, I get how unintended subtleties can get in there…although there should be at least one devil’s advocate in the process to find if any exist and if so, bring them up for all the parties to consider before they reach the point of public consumption.

      Audi being Audi, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the someone in the process noted the subliminal “money and breeding always beat poor white trash” message and decided most of those who will see this are too stupid to discern the subtleties anyway.

      Of course I’m assuming that “money and breeding always beat poor white trash” was never originally intended to be a part of the message. Then again, we’re talking Audi, which automatically means VAG and the kind of arrogance that made VAG think they could get away with defeat devices in their diesel vehicles.

      You know the saying, a fish rots from the head…

      And herein lies the value of social media. Today’s Millennial generation values authenticity in a way many of us Boomers haven’t figured out. Had Subaru produced a spot advocating for womens issues, I promise it would carry far more weight than this Audi ad ever will.

      Ya gotta love a company who launches a campaign in AD 2016 called “Intelligence is the New Rock & Roll.”

      Because Rock is Dead. (Not to be confused with CLASSIC Rock which remains quite resilient)

      Nickelback delivered the last mass-appeal Rock album a DECADE ago.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLYwwtPA49w

      And need I remind you that Nickelback is as much a freaking punch line as Chicago and Starship became in the Eighties.

      Oh, one more thing. It’s Super Bowl week, when people’s attention turns as much toward the ads as the game. So we have a car company, known as much for its arrogance as its engineering prowess, rolling out an ad intended to stand up for women, but fails on multiple levels while reinforcing multiple negative stereotypes?

      Kudos, Jack. Thanks for sharing this; I think it’s completely relevant.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      That’s a very astute observation about Audi making this expecting Hillary to win. I would add, though, that if a company wants to send a good-corporate-citizen message, pay equality is probably a fairly safe, non-controversial subject. Nobody actually favors a wage gap; any argument is usually about whether one still exists.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Audi should just have a commercial produced showing dirt people on bikes, walking, and in Kias and Nissan Versas shot & impaled by compound bow-bearing passengers hanging out of the back tailgates and windows of Q7s and R8s, for the sake of sport.

    The vehicle is the means of tracking, pursuing & catching up to their targets, but superior genetics, training and mental discipline (ebbing towards a philosophy that Darwinism needs to be an activity to purify the human race) allows accurate, clean arrow shots.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      LOL.

      Completely unrepresentative sampling:

      The housing development I live in is 1/2 mile away from the intersection with the main thoroughfare. On that corner is an apartment complex filled with Audis.

      Go to my neighborhood, almost every home owner drives 10 year old Toyotas and every other house also has one domestic 2 1/2 brand pickup.

      Yes, superior genetics indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        This is advertising/marketing fantasy.

        Commercials illustrating expensive vehicles are a massive destroyer of wealth/savings and that many truly I intelligent, wealthy (net wealthy, free of debt) people drive older, reliable, and often less e expensive but well-maintained vehicles would not suit Audi’s message.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          I needed a smiley, I got what you were getting at.

          (note the usage of the “at” at the end would cause me to be one of the “workers” in the ad :D )

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          I’ve heard Warren Buffet drives a late model Buick. He says he doesn’t remember what model-year it is.

          I imagine it has as much to do with security as it does with his financial proclivities. If a guy who looks like Warren Buffet drives away in a late model Buick, he pretty much instantly melts into the crowd.

          For instance, I’ve been seeing pictures of Warren Buffet in business magazines for my entire life, but I’d need a license plate number to be able to tell for sure that it was Warren Buffet in a particular Buick, as opposed to about some other guy his age who last shopped for glasses in the 1980s.

          It’s brilliant. I swear I see Warren Buffett drive past me four or five times whenever I go to Florida.

          I don’t believe him when he plays dumb, though, I bet he does know what model-year his Buick is. He just wants to be able to melt into the crowd when he leaves the stage. I bet he changes his glasses, too, in order to avoid being stalked by young MBAs looking for investment advice.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            Warren Buffett plays a role similar to Trump does, but the polar opposite.

            Buffett actually lives high on the hog but carefully cultivates a media image that the press is all to happy to indulge because he’s a fellow ideological traveler that donates to the right causes and supports the right candidates.

            Warren Buffett owns a private jet for Pete’s sake, so his Buick and small home don’t fool me.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            As of 2014, Buffet is rolling an XTS, he came from a Deville.

            “In fact, his 2006 Cadillac DTS, which had just 19,000 miles on it, was barely broken in when he became convinced recently it was time to replace it.

            The sales pitch came from none other than GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, who had flown to Omaha in mid-May to meet one of GM’s largest shareholders amid a growing safety crisis that threatened to stall the automaker’s comeback. The meeting came around the same time Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, disclosed that it had cut its stake in GM by 25 percent, to 30 million shares, during the first quarter.

            As they motored through Omaha in his eight-year-old DTS, Buffett asked what made the new generation of Cadillacs better. “She really let me have it,” Buffett said. “She told me about 50 things that were better” than his current set of wheels. “By the time we got to lunch — and it’s only 5 or 6 minutes — she sold me.”

            Worried, however, that the world’s third-richest man, worth $65.8 billion, might not get a good price, the 83-year-old Buffett dispatched his daughter, Susie, down to Huber Cadillac in Omaha to make the purchase on his behalf. There she was met by a young saleswoman named Madison Willers, who Buffett said “couldn’t have been more helpful.”

            Barra had suggested he buy the widely acclaimed Cadillac CTS sports sedan, but Willers convinced Susie that her anonymous dad might want to go a different way. In a letter to Barra later, Buffett wrote: “My daughter said that her dad’s ‘car-guy friend’ (that’s you) said he should buy a CTS, but Madison said the XTS would be more appropriate. I think this reflects an evaluation on her part that from Susie’s description I must be hopelessly over the hill (a unanimous view among my family).” He also praised the owner of the dealership, Brett Huber, describing him as “extremely accommodating.”

            Barra penned a hand-written response: “Dear Warren, Thank you very much for buying a GM vehicle. The XTS is a great choice! If you ever have a question or concern, please let me know. It was great to hear that Madison and Brett demonstrated our company value — the customer is our compass. I will look forward to riding in your XTS the next time I visit. Thanks again, Mary Barra.”

            Did he get a good trade-in price on the old DTS? Nope. He donated it to Girls Inc., a charitable organization for girls.”

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2014/07/15/warren-buffett-shares-the-inside-scoop-he-bought-a-cadillac-not-a-subaru/#656da5bf755d

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            28, I don’t know if you watch “House of Cards,” but the mega-billionaire in that show rides around in a last gen Buick LeSabre.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yup, Gerald McCraney in Season 2 IIRC. I think I got to Season 4 but the show started to run out of steam.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      … I would watch that ad.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      That comment reminded me of this classic. Although Hyundai is the ‘hero’ here.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Wait, which side of the aisle is desperate to find outrage in the quotidian or banal?

    To which side does Jack Baruth supposedly to claim allegiance?

    Oops, I knew the answer all along, didn’t I?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    This ad is based on the feminist myth that women are held back by a paternalist society. Yet we can assume that the tall rich Audi driving father (man) paid another man to build the fastest car so that his daughter could ride it to victory over the poor boys that likely built their own car? Sort of like a recent US presidential candidate that was going to “crash the ultimate glass ceiling” by riding on the coat-tails of her husband who was the only one in the family with the actual political talent. The feminists want equality, but only at the top and usually requiring lots of help from those evil men. The girls what the boardroom and presidencies, but it is funny that I never hear feminists concerned about gender equality at the bottom where men also dominate – dangerous/dirty occupations (92% of workplace deaths happen to men), prisons (90%+ of prisoners are men), homelessness (80%+ of homeless are men).

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Don’t forget selective service. Somehow that form of descrimination is acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Did you just blame feminists for not being drafted in selective service? Because you are under the impression that Congress which passed it, and the President who signed and executed it are all women?

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          No. I’m saying that is one of the few remaining things where there actually is gender descrimination. It’s just that it is against men so no femenist is bringing it up. As many others have said, if employers actually paid less to women for the same work, they would be sued so quickly by every awaiting jackal lawyer that there head would spin. Working in the auto industry my whole life, I have seen how actually women get more insentives then men, because these are jobs women don’t usually perform. It has way more to do with natural preferences than anything else.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            MBella,
            Women and other groups have been fighting for equal treatment across the board, including in the military. Instead of blaming them for not eliminating all discrimination, why not listen to them, or better yet, get active yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/ndaa-women-draft-dropped


        But conservatives in both chambers objected to the provision and stripped it out of the final legislative draft unveiled Tuesday. ”

        Try this for a change: gather facts, and THEN decide what you believe.

        Listening to Fox and AM radio will get you all riled up and emotional. If you’re angry or upset, you won’t be able to absorb the information that contradicts those emotions.

        WHite men discriminate far more than any other group because they have the power. Facts show this.

        Trying to claim that white men are the most discriminated against is the opposite of the truth, and it is only explained by PROJECTION, which is an unwillingness to deal with facts. It is the sad result of a brain unable to accept fault, and it results in the individual blaming others for their own faults. Don’t do it.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      It’s a good thing we have an almost exclusively male forum to discuss these women’s issues and decide everything that’s wrong with women today.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Human nature is human nature.

      Biology entails chemical and electrical responses.

      It is healthy to find this meteorologist attractive:

      https://45.media.tumblr.com/19ccbc02a47a27f75fdf6dce290eacd1/tumblr_o1ycj9fM9H1s97etwo1_500.gif

      *I just wanted another excuse to post her gif

  • avatar
    masrapida

    I’m not sure this holds up:

    “Money and breeding always beat poor white trash” — but it’s not so binary now with the ascent of 45 manifesting the finer qualities of both Bevölkerungsgruppen.

    Let the healing begin.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Female Marine can’t complete Infantry Officer Course; no more women now enrolled
    By: Jeff Schogol, August 12, 2016 (Photo Credit: Staff)

    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2016/08/12/female-marine-cant-complete-infantry-officer-course-no-more-women-now-enrolled/88634096/

    Did she drive back to her normal base in an Audi of some type?

    Bonus reading: http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=9295

    I feel so guilty and anti-PC now

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      Thoughtcrime detected, comrade DeadWeight! To the sensitivity training gulag with you!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      IOC’s right across the quad from the student officer’s barracks. She probably just walked.

      This is an issue I used to follow fairly close, since I worked there for a few years. I don’t think any women have passed the IOC course, whereas 20% or so of women have passed the much easier enlisted course.

  • avatar
    mason

    “It’s fabulously, hilariously racist, but it’s only visible for a moment, just enough to reconfirm your subliminal perceptions.”

    Meanwhile, at the BET awards, Jesse Williams chooses the not so subtle approach and states on live television, “today it’s acceptable to speak racist hate against white people in America.”

    And he received a stand up ovation.

    AND this guy won a humanitarian award.

    A racist world we live in indeed.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Typical German arrogance. Just like they thought they could get away with the diesel emissions cheat.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    Jack, you are the master of takedowns, knocking this one out in a way that Mark Dice and most of the other people examining it on youtube never even considered. Bravo!

    Audi seems to be on some sort of sappy feminist kick recently, to the detriment of its credibility and brand image. The “Let’s Change the Game” ad run last Christmas rings pretty hollow, considering Corvette Barbie beat them to the punch like 30 years ago and nobody complained.

    If Audi actually cared about female drivers they’d stand up and say something about Saudi Arabia. Instead, they run these idiotic ads in a desperate attempt to capture the deranged minds of SJWs who would rather burn down an Audi dealership (“We’re like, fighting capitalist oppression for Mother Gaia, maaaan!!!”) then test drive a car there.

    I talked with my wife about this commercial, and ultimately her opinion was that if Audi really respected her, they’d try to sell her the car based on its merits, rather than trying to pander to her via some very misguided political assumptions.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      They’re positioning themselves for their electric future, which won’t include four-time Audi customers like me. Virtue signaling pablum? Perfect, for the a$$es they’ll need for their new seats.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      I wonder what would happen if Audi and VW as a whole were investigated to see if the women they hire are paid equally.

      If I were Mary Barra, I’d pull a Lee Iacocca and appear on a new ad. But, instead of telling people that if they can find a better car to buy it (because they already are? Sorry I couldn’t resist) she should say that while she appreciates Audi’s sentiments, if you really want to support a car company that actually promotes women all the way to the top, GM has a Cadillac, GMC, Buick or Chevrolet they’d like to show you.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      No, audi’s ad agency is on a feminist kick, possibly inspired by that daughters ad that got so much positive press recently (which was creatively led by a woman I know btw). It’s an easy sell as an angle to their client because guess who makes the majority of purchase decisions for these cars?

      My wife makes commercials like this (not this one) and the funny thing I see is that 99% of the time it’s a bunch of 50 something white guys who put these together (they aren’t necessarily liberal either, more mercenary libertarian in bent, just like jack)! She’s constantly asked what she thinks of their creative decisions in women targeted spots, and she’s constantly infuriated by what they come up with. Face red, “what the hell are you trying to say?” angry.

      Also keep in mind that there’s four big voices in the creation. The director & ad agency have the original vision, the client has opinions and then edit combines their own vision with the other three, in an often contentious process. There may well have been a black kid in a kart that got cut somewhere along the way, possibly to avoid a different ugly implication that we aren’t aware of not having seen that raw footage. I see that exact thing happen all the time. Commercials don’t necessarily have a cohesive top down creation process, expect weird inconsistencies.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    When did corporations get so political?

    I miss the days where companies went above and beyond not to engage in this. I honestly don’t want companies getting right or left.

    Budweiser has one for the Super Bowl that’s taking aim at Trump, which from what I hear, he had a lot of states vote for him that drink Bud beer. This after the failed Amy Schumer ad.

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      I hate it and it has the exact opposite effect for me – I refuse to buy their shit.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      It’s not political though. If you accept Baruth’s words at face value, the commercial is the equivalent of saying “here at audi, we love moms”. Everybody loves their fucking mom.

      The question you have to ask yourself is why it bothers you that audi repeats something incredibly trite and patently obvious. And why you seem to feel it’s “political” as if there is any reasonable person who’d object to the sentiment.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        In 2017, anything that doesn’t reassure middle aged poor men that they’re amazing snowflakes is ‘political’

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          To be fair, I’m lower-middle-class, not poor. I made more than the poverty level last year. I eat two meals a day, sometimes three. My son has health insurance and his own investment portfolio.

          • 0 avatar

            Whats your definition of lower middle class! I’m pretty sure my income is about half yours but I still consider myself on the line between lower middle and middle. I always went on middle class being 60% median to 200% median or right now 36k to 120 k.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Definition of lower middle class: can’t afford starlight headliner on Wraith

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “Definition of lower middle class: can’t afford starlight headliner on Wraith”
            .
            Not to worry jack ~ soon they’ll be an aftermarket item from China, on E-Bay for $29.95 or so……
            .
            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            vaujot

            Do you really believe you’re lower-middle-class or are you just pulling our leg?
            Going by the lifestyle you describe here and in your blog, you’re closer to the upper class than to being poor.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        People are offended because

        A) It implies that men are being unjustly overpaid at the expense of women because we’re all a bunch of chauvinist that are stealing from them

        B) These stats have been shown over and over again to be false that imply lower pay is a result of discrimination, but one side of the aisle pushes this in order to create resentment

        C) It’s a lame commercial because girls don’t like “car racing” and nobody is holding them back from competing anyway. The worst example possible of “how women are being held back”

        But I’m sure the San Francisco ad agency were high-fiving each other for striking a blow against the patriarchy.

        Next will be tackling the pay inequality of transgender models.

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          #notallmen

          The commercial doesnt imply that men are chauvinists. Seriously, there’s a reason why it’s dad in the ad, not mom. You’re supposed, if you’re not a dick, to identify with dad. If you identify with the shitty bullies, well maybe you need to a hard look in the mirror.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            So the dad doesn’t work for a living?

            Because if men are overpaid, that would imply that dad is “part of the problem” if he gets a paycheck.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Seriously, there’s a reason why it’s dad in the ad, not mom.”

            Yeah, and the most likely reason is this: Audi did research on luxury high performance *sedan* buyers and a) found most are men, and b) if those men have kids, 50% of them are daughters, and c) they’re concerned about their daughters’ political, social and economic equality.

            The same idea would definitely appeal to their female customers.

            Therefore, an ad that appeals to the idea of female equality.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “. Everybody loves their fucking mom.”.
        .
        Well, no ~ Danny Rosenfield didn’t ~ he hacked her to death with a hatchet…..
        .
        Then he went to France and did Pops .
        .
        The people you meet when incarcerated are the source of endless stories for decades after .
        .
        BTW : I keep hearing anti – TTAC rants about ‘ there’s NO car stuff !’
        .
        I guess I’m the only one here who gets multiple messages about every aspect of vehicles sales and developments ? .
        .
        -Nate

  • avatar
    tnk479

    It’s bad enough that I have to put up with being surrounded by leftist drones all day long at work and in my personal life (ugh, dating in DC is the worst). Now corporations are going to try and use the leftist SJW programming to sell more luxury cars.

    No thanks, Audi. I just crossed you off my list and I am in fact buying a luxury car this year so that’s not an idle threat.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Jack, I think you miss-read the metaphor. The little girl is a past representation of the woman who will buy this Audi. The dad is tall because everyone thought their dad was tall when they were kids.

    Short version: it’s not marketed to the dad, it’s marketed to the woman who used to be that little girl. The race is also a metaphor, it’s not meant to depict an actual sanctioned event.

    From hanging out a bunch with millennials, I wouldn’t read too much into the “body image” thing. Millennial guys are heavy-set and don’t know how to put on a helmet. Millennial women are tough and lean and fit.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Why isn’t TTAC paying this guy to interpret commercials?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Thank you for chiming in… I’d considered that, and it’s certainly within the realm of possible intent, but remember that all modern advertising is aspirational, not representational. There’s a reason that we don’t see a mother and a daughter. Indeed, the mother is absent entirely. What’s she doing that’s more important than attending her daughter’s race? The answer is: getting dicked down by her super-alpha boss at her law firm.

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        I think the real answer is that it’s both.

        See, the brilliance of the ad is that it plays to multiple demos. It plays to young(ish) women who see themselves as the rider currently fighting to get ahead. It plays tog older women for whom the nostalgia a play registers. It plays to older men who think of their own daughters. And it plays to younger men who, like you, can recognize a hottie.

        The only people it doesn’t play to are the unwashed Trump voting populace who you rightly recognize are the butt of the joke. And honestly? Fuck those assholes. They weren’t buying an Audi anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        Rochester

        Jack, you’re at 10 comments already, on the same day, in your own piece. Some might say you’re a little insecure, buddy. Which is somewhat in keeping with your premise, so I guess you get a pass.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Rochester,
          Jack gets paid by the click.

          I like that he makes himself available to the B&B. Lord knows he endures a lot of criticism.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Here’s 11.

          Now see what you did. You turned me into Judd Nelson in the breakfast club.

          • 0 avatar
            Caboose

            Judd Nelson in Breakfast Club === The Guy You Wanted To Grow Up To Have The Balls To Be When You Got To High School. The other two ruled themselves out by crying.

            And, sure, we got the “don’t judge a book by its cover” vibe near the end when Ally Sheedy showed up *transformed*. (See? She was approachable because she was insecure, but now she’s approachable AND hot!) But we all knew we were supposed to lust after Molly Ringwald and, hey, mission accomplished.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            And thanks for following up with comments, Jack. It adds a human touch to an article.

            Meanwhile this was an amazing analysis. I just saw…nostalgia with a bid to be Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        this is a case where I think it’d be interesting to hear from the people who came up with the ad and find out what story they were intending to tell. kind of like proofreading your own work, sometimes the meaning which was clear to you is interpreted completely differently by someone else. Kind of like my ire towards a VW ad I mentioned here:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/02/qotd-time-favorite-automotive-commercial/#comment-8903673

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        No this is still aimed at women. That skinny, tall, handsome, well dressed gentleman taking care of his daughter is the idealized DILF. You too can have a f___able and caring husband if you buy a new a4.

        It’s exactly the same thing as ads or porn designed for us. All tit’s and ass, but let’s not linger on the stunk dick, because the actually target audience might not actually resemble him, or he might spark insecurities.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      That’s … pretty plausible, yeah.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      https://45.media.tumblr.com/19ccbc02a47a27f75fdf6dce290eacd1/tumblr_o1ycj9fM9H1s97etwo1_500.gif

      Boom.

      Another random, arbitrary insertion with no relevancy to the topic.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    The real message is female vs. male, how the former is/has taken over the next Audi buying “winner” stereotype. But its hard to say anything about feminism, just sit back and take the hits and the job quotas and the ads belittling males without saying anything, as we have been doing for 30 years or more.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      I have to question the fragility of the male ego if they cant accept a fantasy ad with a girl winning.

      Does women occasionally ‘winning’ automatically meaning men are ‘losing’?

      To go further, does the black man or hispanic getting a decent go at life or whatever means that white males are ‘losing’?

      I can kind of see it… there was a day when males had 100% voting rights. And then one sad day they lost 50% of it to women. What a sad day that was. Or as the POTUS would say, SAD!

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        Yes. That’s what it means. Because the American job market is largely a zero-sum game. That, in turn, is because, in part, software continues to “eat the world”, so there are fewer and fewer jobs to be had at all strata of society. The job market is a shrinking pie; unless we abandon or severely curtail the growth of technology, that will continue.

        A job gained by a woman is definitionally a job lost by a man; a job gained by a minority is definitionally a job lost by a someone white; a job gained by an illegal immigrant is definitionally a job lost by a Citizen, and a job gained by a robot is definitionally a job lost by all humans. Whether and to what degree any of that is morally good or economically prudent or philosophically beneficial to society at large is the ground of the debate.

        But to ask whether “women occasionally ‘winning’ automatically meaning men are ‘losing’” is to ask nothing more than whether society picks winners and losers. Yes. That’s what it means.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Caboose – you raise some interesting points.

          In the past I used to routinely see comments stating that it wasn’t the government or business’s responsibility to guarantee anyone a stable job and benefits. All of a sudden that same group now says government has to protect the middle class working man from immigrants and foreign lands.

          Government has done a gross injustice to the working man but not by inadequate protection. Post secondary education has been priced out of their reach. Add to that the lack of educational resources to train skilled tradesmen. The educational resources are not in place to ensure a stable future.

          Over the years I’ve seen market fluctuations affecting the job market and the ones who always fall victim are unskilled labour. Everyone I know with a Profession or skilled Trade have weathered those changes rather well.

      • 0 avatar
        April S

        @TonyJZX

        Same thing happened when the movie Mad Max Fury Road came out.

        Some guy folks just couldn’t handle it when one of the main characters was a strong and fearless woman.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I just love how Fury Road found a button to push for every person with any sort of bias out there.
          I’ve never seen so much rage on the IMDB pages.

          Anyone who had even seen a Mad Max film before should know women are rarely weak and useless in George Millers films.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          I didn’t have a problem with Fury Road. It was over-the-top nonsensical ultraviolence unlike anything I’ve seen since, well, The Road Warrior. The only thing is that Max was a secondary character and Furiosa was the true star. But it would have had no market without “Mad Max” in the title.

          I haven’t had a problem with the past two Star Wars movies either. Seriously, 9/10ths of action movies all have macho male stars; it’s okay for a few female heroines to carry a movie.

  • avatar
    April S

    We mere mortals are fortunate to have a super genius to mansplain things.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @April S – The Baruth boys share very similar views. Jack’s superior writing skills gets him high 5’s from the peanut gallery whereas brother Mark screws himself.

    • 0 avatar
      USAFMech

      +1 Internets awarded for non-ironic use of “mansplaining”! Well played, sir.

      Besides, TTAC is equal opportunity. They let Murilee write here and she’s smokin’ hot!

      • 0 avatar
        April S

        @USAFMech

        Thanks for teh Internets. Once in awhile I’ll get lucky at being clever. Not often but even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day. :)

        Concerning the sir thing. Hold on, let me check. Nope, none here. (plus I’ve never heard of a guy named April) ;)

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    So, when you pay attention it becomes clear that we all play a role in a chronically juvenile society.
    Then, ask yourself what effect your role will have in this environment.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    First, let me say that I make it a habit to skip the authors name when first reading the article. I do this so I don’t bias myself subconsciously. It wasn’t far into this one that I knew exactly who wrote it. The only other articles that are this obvious are Tim’s sales report and MSD series. Which I like and encourage, by the way.

    Best piece I’ve ever read of yours, Jack. Not that I’ve been here long as most regs, but I swear I don’t think I’ve ever followed what you’ve written so well. Identified with it. Felt it. It was like a one-on-one tutor session, you explained it at just my level I suppose, and it worked flawlessly. I’m not just saying that because I agree with it, although I do and thought the point was spot on.

    I hadn’t seen the commercial since I’m not into sports and I rarely watch live TV (I can’t remember the last TV commercial I’ve seen before this one). But, I did watch it before your play-by-play began.

    Everything you said was spot on. And, no, I didn’t see it when I watched it first. I mean I did notice the fat kids, and your analysis of them is exactly what I thought them to represent: Poor. Stupid. Less worthy of the win. Probably cheating in some way (aside from having more weight to push the cart lol). You’re meant to dislike them. The smirk on all of the boy’s faces make you think Mr. Burns himself must be a direct ancestor. You’re supposed to hate them. They’re the enemy, the “darling” is the hero.

    I wish I’d noticed the black folks around him, but no black kids. Oh Christ! THAT is nothing but racist. How can it NOT be? “Yes, you can come and watch (if you know when to leave, as in, early), but don’t dare put your kids in this race. You’re here to make the white people look good. LMAO! And coming from a German company, with direct ties to Hitler’s “people’s car” and the corporation it launched, is the icing on the cake.

    About the narration, I felt like I always feel when some corporate faceless business (or it’s advertising agency) does something like this to “take a stand”: its revolting how sappy and fake it feels. I want to turn down the volume, and look away. And I would have if I wasn’t about to read an article about it. It isn’t the message that doesn’t set well, its who’s giving the message. That have something they want from me, my business. The message falls flat when there is an ulterior motive.

    What he was saying is rather pointless, as well. If women are paid less for equal work, that is wrong. But within big corportarions, they should vote with their feet by walking out. Go work for a company that does appreciate you. Don’t put up with it, take a stand. No, that isn’t easy when you have a family to feed. I realize that. But I know my dad put up with a job he hated more than once to make sure we were fed.

    We all, or at least I and many other “less than privileged people” have put up with unfair conditions. What did we do? We did what we had to do until we could move on.

    If I was a candidate for some high-paying job, and I found out I was being discriminated against for being gay, or being white, or being male, or being WHATEVER, I’d say “phuck you very much. And, if you need me, you can try my soon-to-be office located at your biggest compeditor.”

    Did the daddy in this commercial turn down a raise until his female co-workers were paid the same? No, he just bought a luxury car with the money they deserved, apparently, and now somehow rises above it to make every other man on earth feel guilty about the unfairness.

    Knowing as you all do that my blood is Ford blue, I do believe I would have the same reactions if the dynamic daddy-daughter duo were walking towards a Continental. Especially if the things pointed out here were present and accounted for. It doesn’t matter that its Audi, its just corporate greed masked as pseudo activism, and it stinks.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I first saw this piece via its headline in the Recent Comments bar. I knew from the headline who wrote it.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I kind of disagree with that. That’s the attitude that if you dont love America, get the hell out. Move to Canada. It just doesnt happen. If you dont like your workplace, dont fight for your rights, just leave. Its someone elses fight anyway.

        I also think its kind of funny that people expect Audi to somehow celebrate being ‘poor’ or ‘fat’ or whatever low class stereotype you expect.

        America is built on the boostraps ideology. No one wants to be fat or poor and Audi puts themself out there as that aspirational brand of the young and professional and older gentrified wealthy so this ad just plays to that.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Leaving IS fighting for your rights. That was my intent, and its what I’d do if facing the same situation.

          I didn’t mean to imply that leaving is the only option, I suppose now that you mention it, I will clarify that it should be a last resort once all attempts at righting the situation have failed.

          But, leaving on principle is protesting. It is saying “this is wrong, and I don’t accept it”.

          Or, as Seven of Nine would say: “I will not comply.”

          I didn’t mean it as “I’m taking my toys and going home!”, but if the kids told my currently non-existent child that s/he couldn’t play their new game because s/he has a gay dad or s/he isn’t pretty or strong or tall or thin or whatever enough, I would hope s/he’d do exactly that. Life is too short to put up with injustice when you have a choice about it.

          You don’t have to “support poor/fat” people to not use them as they were used here. You were supposed to look down on them and want them to loose. Much the way an Audi driver might look at someone driving a 1995 Ford Taurus.

          Sorry if I happen to relate, dude, although I’m not fat, I’m damn sure not a potential Audi customer.

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        @dal,
        In retrospect, I can totally see that being the case, and it should have been for me now that Bark is gone.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    This is one of those things where a 60 sec add launches tens of thousands of words across the internet trying to find meaning where the ad company didnt even think of when they were filming/storyboarding this.

    I see this as way more harmless than most… I see those boys there as generic ‘opponents’… I’m not going to examine their supposed background, it would expose my prejudices more than anything.

    I think Audi are largely preaching to the choir… their audience would be largely liberal professionals, where the woman is already the major influence on purchasing decisions even in a heterosexual relationship.

    Audi is a slightly elitist aspirational luxury brand. What else is new?

    As to Audi trying to sell their ‘merits’… let’s be honest here, they need to sell the sizzle, not the steak.

    Audi doesnt do anything better than a Hyundai… in fact, they probably do a lot worse, speaking objectively but what about subjectively.

    Besides, you want to sell on merit… at the Superbowl? Come on now.

    Every wannabee web pundit spewing prose about this is vindication that Audi spent wisely.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I understand what you’re trying to say but consider the fact that this spot cost about $50,000 PER SECOND to make.

      No way they didn’t put real thought and effort into every single second.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I submit that $3 million spend isnt a big deal to the VAG group.

        I also feel that people are so upset about what seems to be a upper middle class white girl ‘winning’…. can one imagine the sheer vapors people would get if it was a hispanic or… a black girl???

        I need to sit down, I’m getting light headed.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          They are not sparing detail. This stuff is pixel perfect and composing subtext and subliminal cues tailored to appeal to social biases are old and well refined arts.

          $3m may or may not be a pittance to VAG, but if they’re giving it to you to create something very evocative to the specific people who could buy their product, you’ll do a good job.

          Well, I don’t know if you would, but you know what I mean.

          I uh, don’t know if Jack’s reading of it is in line with the intent or not, but the general point of the lifestyle being conveyed is probably not far from the truth.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I do agree that they aren’t sparing any detail.

            I knew a fellow with an excavator and feller buncher. He got hired by a movie to move trees around because the Director didn’t like their location. He has getting an outrageous amount of cash to do it.
            I spent a day at the same movie set because their insurance stipulated that they needed paramedics on site for dangerous stunts. We sat around for 4 hours because the director didn’t like the snow and had fake snow spread around. We then waited a bit longer because he didn’t like the lighting.
            All that was for a scene that got cut from the final movie.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Audi doesnt do anything better than a Hyundai . . .”

      Only if a vehicle is nothing more than basic transportation to you.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        Selective editing is nice. You left out the objective/subjective thing.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          The things that seem subjective to you become objective once you know enough about them.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            bulls**t.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            That’s your answer to everything you are incapable of arguing against. But it’s true; you actually can measure and quantify things like chassis stiffness, steering feel, suspension damping characteristics, yaw rate under power or during trail braking, leather thickness and toughness, and many other things that are apparently beyond your scope. Once you understand them, you may even be able to perceive the differences without the availability of measurement tools.

            Of course, Hyundais will also be objectively better than Audis in certain areas. But saying that “Audi doesn’t do anything better than a Hyundai…” is absurd. Adding that Audi may objectively do everything worse and has only subjective benefits over Hyundai only increases the absurdity of the quoted statement.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Well, I’m the outlier here. I didn’t bother to analyze the commercial frame by frame and just accepted it for what it appeared to be on the surface. I’ve got three granddaughters and like the idea that Audi chose to address some issue other than just tout the A5 hatch. Having spent some 40 years as a professional HR type in US industry and a few in govt, I’d agree that the pay for comparable work is pretty dang even today. The real issue is those jobs that are generally identified as “women’s work”, e.g. Librarians, nurses, teachers, et al. These occupations when evaluated organizationally, often fail to include their internal value and levels of responsibility. I could go on but this ain’t the place. My boss and I identified this fact in the 70’s and it persists today. BTW, I drive a new Audi S3 and love it and German cars in general having owned several of each, Benz, BMW, Porsche, VW.

  • avatar
    zipster

    Jack, some of the best advocating for people in lower social-economic groups that I read is done by you. Yet, when the second Tuesday in November comes you seem to go the other way. I would like to believe the contrary.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Why do people care about TV ads in the first place? Even Americans have started dropping their cable subscriptions like the rest of the world now.

    I guess even now people still need to manufacture controversy. I suppose it’s hard to break habits. :)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I watched the add after reading all of the comments. I did not notice height or the token black audience. I got the sense that the dad was just hoping for the dest for his daughter and that she can be as good as any man.

    Sure it is cliched.

    Another masterfully crafted story by Jack but it’s just that, a masterful story.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Brilliant analysis, Jack. I went from annoyed to glad that you got me to watch that garbage.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    F*** Audi. You have been cursed by C3, be gone!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    brilliant analysis, yup there is no greater sin in North America than to be overweight. Really reflects the hermetic, incestuous world of advertising too.

  • avatar
    SortedCorty.com

    Brilliant article.

  • avatar

    Brilliant, Jack can still write like nobody else on free to read second tier blogs. Seriously thou awesome.

  • avatar

    You’d think Audi would avoid racing allusions forever after they got their Nazi ass handed to them by an old guy in a broken used Alfa back in ’35.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Jack Baruth
    The Australian Bruce Spence the Road Warrior movies, is very timely in Australia. Yes Girls are now achieving in Sport in Australia. . Australian Rules Football has just released a national Women’s competition. Cricket is boosting it’s various women’s competition’s . Netball a ” women’s basketball ” is now getting prime time TV coverage, plus several new teams. Rugby Union has it’s Sevens competition and is putting emphasis on the Women who won gold in Rio

  • avatar
    slow_poke

    took a film course back in college and i have to agree w/ Jack on this one… every single thing in this commercial is there for a reason. My guess is even many of the ad folks didn’t even verbalize WHY things were the way they were, but every single moment of that was a conscious decision.

    Good work Jack to deconstruct it so well.

    this stuff is really subtle and frankly scares me a bit.

    like i read about a recent study that noted when asked 5 year girls thought girls and boys were all smart, but 6 year old girls when asked said that boys were smarter… where the heck does that even come from… we have so much growing yet to do as a people and a society…

  • avatar

    Would any commercial be made today that showed a male doing better than a female in any way?

    My guess is they went with the handsome without being overly masculine or threatening-looking male parent instead of a mother for some eye candy for the women who are the real target of most advertising, what with females being ultimately responsible for about 80% of consumer purchase decisions, including cars.

    Think of all the things that you could buy that would provoke an argument when you got home.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Would any commercial be made today that showed a male doing better than a female in any way?”

      That might strain credulity if you were that male.

      We conspicuous underachievers need to recuse ourselves from this topic.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “We conspicuous underachievers need to recuse ourselves from this topic.”

        FCA had said that the typical buyer of a Ram pickup was a mid forty’s male around 6 feet tall and 240 lbs.

        Ever see a guy fitting that description in any of their advertising?

  • avatar
    April S

    Maybe we will be fortunate enough to get Jack to deconstruct Puppy Bowl XIII.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Answering Jack’s question “How’d the soapbox derby car get to the race in the first place”, it would fit (with the wheels removed) in the back of an S5 Sportback with the rear seats folded down, wouldn’t it?

    Be happy that our hero has chosen a car and not a CUV!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Not even close. That Derby car is seven or eight feet long.

      To put this in perspective, my son’s 50cc kart BARELY fits in the Tahoe. And his 206cc kart doesn’t fit.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        I’d bet nearly anything that the commercial idea was crafted entirely without reference to the car that will actually be featured. If audi had wanted a Q7 spot instead there’d be a shot of the kart being loaded up. The people doing this will be on to a soda or insurance commercial the next day. It’s a compelling emotional narrative that you can tack any product onto willy nilly.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No, I don’t think the A7 being there was an accident.

          Here’s why.

          The ad is designed to identify with a political message about equality for girls. Now, if you aim that message at women, it’s preaching to the choir. But if you aim it at men, it’s “profound”.

          Now, what’s the demographics on high performance luxury sedans? I’m going to bet it’s overwhelmingly male, a fact that Audi is no doubt aware of.

          Thus, they feature an A7. Message? You can be politically correct and like to drive a fast, expensive power-sedan.

          And if the man WANTS an A7, but is stuck driving one of their CUVs, then the A7 becomes a halo car.

          Silly, I know…but that’s advertising. It’s no sillier than, say, doing a Ram ad featuring top-of-the-line pickups at worksites, doing actual heavy work.

  • avatar
    pbx

    80% of car buying decisions are strongly influenced by women. This ad tries to emotionally engage women so that they have a favorable view of Audi and the ‘dad’ in the commercial gets the car he wants.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    I tell my daughter to not to look to the nanny state to make all the perceived injustices in the world right. And please, DO NOT fall for identity politics. You are an individual.

    Besides, when you adjust for training/degrees, type of jobs women gravitate toward, and time in the labor force, there is no discrimination between men and women.

    Why would a company want to annoy half of its customers by promoting a political position? Maybe most Audi customers are feminists or leftists. Or maybe, like Target’s or Amazon’s CEOs, have hurt the company by promoting a political agenda. Keep your agendas to yourself and just sell stuff. THAT is your job.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Brilliant analysis of the nature of commercial ads in America. Hats off to Mr. Jack Baruth! Simply brilliant.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I often ask myself, “Whatever happened to The Last Psychiatrist”? He/She wrote several pieces on just this type of advertising. Case in point, any Swiss watch ad you’ve seen in the past 30 years.

    Speaking of, has anybody seen the Patek Philippe ad with the Polo playing son and dad? Now that’s aspirational! Where do I sign my daughter up for Polo lessons?

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    Excellent analysis.

    How much money are the trailer park trash and token minorities paid to appear in these things? I can imagine a scene out of Rosemary’s Baby, with the ambitious underclass signing a deal with the devil.

    Ever notice how the Prime Minister of Canada always has a Sikh gentleman standing behind his shoulder at public gatherings? Pure tokenism…

    • 0 avatar
      rutabagaman

      You mean Harjit Sajjan, our current minister of national Defense? He is, in fact, paid to be there.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well played, sir.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Harjit Sajjan isn’t some token “coloured boy” used in photo ops for entitled rich white guys.

        “Sajjan spent time serving as a detective for the Vancouver Police Department. He worked in the gangs and organized crime unit for 11 years. Later on he went on to join the Canadian Army reserves, serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Later on 3 tours of Afghanistan, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After entering the world of federal politics and winning his seat in Vancouver South, Justin Trudeau appointed him Minister of Defence.”

        The guy served Canada as a police officer and a soldier.

        http:// www. canada. com/news/cms/binary/11498534.jpg?size=620x400s

      • 0 avatar
        CrapBox

        No, I’m not talking about the Minister of Defense. I’m referring to the carefully staged group of Uncle Toms that pose behind the Prime Minister for policy pronouncements and other theatrical events.

        They are selected based on appearance. Their individual identities are irrelevant.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Huh. I thought this website was supposed to be ABOUT CARS. This was page after page of ranty political commentary that happened to have a backdrop of a car commercial.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      This piece was actually delayed yesterday in favor of something about midsize sedan sales numbers.

      I assure you we continue to focus on the mundane here, just to make you happy.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    @Snooder
    “The only people it doesn’t play to are the unwashed Trump voting populace who you rightly recognize are the butt of the joke. And honestly? Fuck those assholes. They weren’t buying an Audi anyway.”

    Wow. It must be so rough being part of the oh-so-superior, ultra-tolerant Left and having to share the country with such low-lifes. My wife and I both voted for Trump and we are neither unwashed nor assholes, which is apparently more than I can say for you. You were right on one count though; we weren’t buying an Audi. We did, however, buy a Mercedes and a Porsche.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “You were right on one count though; we weren’t buying an Audi. We did, however, buy a Mercedes and a Porsche.”

      Next, you’ll be taking a bold stand against Chevy by buying a Buick instead. Just brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      robert_h

      @RobbieAZ– apparently this flew right over your head, but Snooder wasn’t presenting his personal views; he was analyzing the mindset of the folks who made the ad.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Oh, good Lord…all this outrage over a freakin’ ad?

    Next up: the subtle man-hating of Doritos. And the Budweiser Frogs.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Gee, nobody has ever attempted to shut down a socially-conservative conversation with strawman comparisons. How clever.

      Shall we contrast the level of discourse in this forum with that taking place among progressives who believe that the dining room furniture is racist, and Donald Trump is literally Hitler?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Funny, I didn’t make this about liberal versus conservative. You did.
        My point is that this is a tempest in a teacup.

        Now, if you want to raise the level of discourse, I’d suggest not putting words in other peoples’ mouths.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Forgot about the frogs! Obviously, the second one is claiming he’s the smartest when he says “weis,” I suppose. ;-)

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Vellum Venom for auto commercials? Sure, why not!

    There’s nothing feminist in the least about this ad. It is distinctly class warfare, not gender warfare. Jack’s right- the hero is the father, not the daughter. Even in kids’ sports, the children are nothing more than an extension of the parent’s will to be better than their peers. Kids are pawns in the chess game of life. When they become adults they graduate to backline pieces and when they have their own children they become king or queen behind pawns of their own. It does, come down to the successful > the poor.

    It didn’t even have to be the daughter. It could have just as easily been his equally adorable blonde son. But the attractive blonde female is the de facto standard of American beauty. It’s what we see on our magazine covers, billboards, calendars, you name it. It’s what the rich guys marry, even if said rich guys are black, or fat, or ugly, or old. Nothing says “I am somebody” quite like having a hot blonde for arm candy. Likewise having a cute blonde girl WINNING tells daddy, “I am somebody.”

    On our cruise to the Bahamas last summer, all advertising was black people. Obviously because the country was almost all blacks. But what stuck out the most, and I pointed it out to Karen, was that depections of successful, “we are MADE” folks was always light-skinned blacks. Ironic in a nation where almost everyone is dark-skinned. In the Bahamas, this same commercial would have been a well-dressed light skinned man watching his beautiful redbone daughter whoop ass on a bunch of dark-skinned kids with imperfect teeth. They probably still would have been fat.

    People who don’t think ad agencies scrutinize every single detail of their commercials are wrong. Every second of this commercial makes a statement.

    I kept feeling like I’ve seen this ad before. Then it hit me… remember the Hummer soap box derby ad? That was longer ago than I thought, but I’m going to have to watch it again to compare to this one.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Jack’s right- the hero is the father, not the daughter.”

      Well, yeah, he’s the one buying the car, you know? Most likely the kid doesn’t have a spare $70,000 lying around.

      People read too much into this kind of thing. It’s a silly message, but…it’s a freakin’ commercial.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      kvndoom – I do agree that parents use their children as proxies for their own deluded sense of grandeur. It was nauseating to watch at the private elementary school my kids attended. I was amazed to see it continue at the public High School they now attend.
      Audi knows their target audience. It isn’t the wealthy who can actually afford this car, it is the middle class social climbing azz kissers trying to get a rung higher on the social ladder.

    • 0 avatar

      Tribes within tribes. Color lines within the African diaspora are interesting, but then I suppose you see it in Mexico where there seems to be a correlation between status/wealth and the percentage of Spaniards in your lineage (or Cuba, where one rarely sees high ranking black government officials). Sometimes it isn’t so much racial as cultural, German Jews regarded Polish Jews as “ostjuden”, not nearly as refined as themselves. Sephardi Jews faced discrimination from Ashkenazim when they came to Israel after being expelled from Arab and Muslim countries. People, unfortunately or not, like to separate into groups.

      It wasn’t white folks who coined the terms “redbone” and “high yellow”.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So it’s an absolute outrage that a guy doesn’t want his daughter to be a loser. I must have stumbled on the Taliban/ alternate reality version of TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, or maybe the ad should have been for, say, a Nissan Versa, and the girl should have beaten a bunch of obnoxious looking yuppies.

      But, yeah…getting triggered over a stupid advertisement doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    “Money and breeding always beat poor white trash.”

    “Gentlemen always fight better than rabble” quoted from Gone with the Wind. Good theory, but didn’t work out too well for the Southern aristocracy. Given sufficient time and numbers, rabble will win by sheer brute force.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Jack, I tell you when you got it wrong, and I’m gonna tell you when you got it right. You got it right here.

    I still want an A7.

  • avatar
    focaltac

    Audi isn’t playing to those who ponder their motives on automotive blogs. We all know what car we want and why we’re ‘right’ about it. They play to the ordinary viewer’s sublimated fears.

    Fears of judgement by others. Fear that others could know our secret, shameful, hidden lives and that our very survival is at stake. The porn stash Dad hides in the attic for when the family is away. The pot Mom hides behind the cookbooks. What Son is doing all that time he spends in the bathroom.

    The daughter is burdened by privilege but isn’t snotty about it. This buys her a pass for her ‘indiscretions’. The dad is attractive in a soft, clean-shaven-non-threatening-corporate-sellout way but gets his pass by sacrificing his Saturday craft-beers-and-cigars-HETEROSEXUAL-bonding-with-the-guys so he can show up for his daughter.

    Takeaway; when others associate you with our product you are are the archetypes in the ad.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Takeaway; when others associate you with our product you are are the archetypes in the ad.”

      Exactly. Advertising 101.

      Ever watched one of those Ram ads? You see burly, macho loggers, oil rig guys or construction workers, tooling around in a duded-up, $50,000 pickup truck. Now, how many macho loggers, oil rig guys, or construction workers drop an extra $20,000 on a duded up pickup truck that ends up beaten to hell anyway? Not all that many, I’d wager.

      So, who’s the target market for the ad? It’s not the macho loggers, oil rig guys or construction workers. It’s the corporate middle manager, or small business owner, or some other moderately-successful guy, who a) has $50,000 to spend on a truck and b) a desire to tap into someone else’s macho.

      Again: advertising 101, but the virtue being signaled isn’t political correctness – it’s masculinity. Same theory, different virtue.

      But amazingly enough, ads like that – which are equally silly in the end – aren’t triggering enough to drive certain folks into spending Lord knows how many hours doing a Citizen-Kane-worthy shot-by-shot analysis…of a TV commercial.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Has anyone on here watched Mad Men? I would guess not, with the number of “it’s just a dumb commercial” comments.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As someone who watched and enjoyed the hell out of the series, I’d quote Don Draper himself:

      “Oh, you mean love. You mean the big lightning bolt to the heart where you can’t eat and you can’t work and you just run off and get married and make babies. The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.”

      And he was right.

      It ain’t DaVinci, or Rodin, or “Citizen Kane.” Hell, if we want to talk about filmed media that wants to be culturally significant, I’d say it’s not even “The Help.” It’s a TV spot. And a year from now, it’ll be forgotten, like about 99.9% of TV spots are.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Mark,
    You promised there would be no more of this. This is a car website devoted to our common love of all thing automotive not a forum for amateur cultural warriors.

    Make it stop.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      it’s about a car ad. and it’s posted under Editorials.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      It’s a car ad. Audi spent millions of dollars to put it front and center with their product.

      The title of the piece made it clear.

      The header of the piece made it clear.

      If you don’t like it, there’s the Midsize Sedan Deathwatch and a WRX review right below it.

      You don’t exercise veto power on this site. You don’t get to shield your precious weepy eyes from the MERE EXISTENCE of a clearly labeled post about automotive advertising.

      Suck it up, buttercup.

      I didn’t ban a single legitimate user when I was EIC of this site but if I still ran it by God I would sit you down for a while. This is thuggish passive-aggressive behavior at its most contemptible.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Jack, I love your prose. That’s why I read your stuff.

        But, sorry…when someone says, “hey, TTAC, I’d prefer to see less of this kind of article,” he doesn’t deserve to be called “buttercup”. All he’s doing is voicing his opinion.

        Seriously.

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          People posting opinions such as that, only more forcefully, led to a gutless decision to black hole an article which in turn led to one of their leading content producers (and likely revenue generators) parting with the company. Moreover, he is further suggesting that any editorial he doesn’t like shouldn’t be on the page. This was pretty mild, in comparison, but apparently not mild enough for this shining example of embracing multiple viewpoints. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to read it or comment on it.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @silentsod:

            The post in question was removed before I could see it, but my understanding was that it was Bark’s reaction to that individual that led to the article’s “black holing” and Bark’s departure. I’m going off what Mark wrote about it. And, yeah, I miss Bark’s car articles too. He even helped me personally during a car search, which I appreciated. I hope he comes back eventually.

            I don’t see anything disrespectful or obnoxious from this particular poster that would justify the level of snark directed back at him. He was just putting in his two cents’ worth.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “buttercup” “beta male” “snowflake” “SJW”

          Where can I get that alt-right thesaurus?

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        Jack, you’ve never struck as thinned skinned but this defensive and self-serving reaction to a small amount of negative feedback is a little disappointing.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Listen, I accept any and all negative feedback up to and including “hope your son dies”, which was actually posted here in 2013.

          What I don’t accept is the idea of some rando having VETO power over what we post. He’s free to hate it, hate me, criticize it, criticize me. But the notion that it needs to DISAPPEAR in order to suit him? That’s disgusting. I don’t care for the (current state of) rap music. Should they take it off the radio?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Jack:

            Posting a generic and not impolite “Hey, TTAC, just FYI, I don’t like political content” message equals “veto power”?

            I don’t think so.

            Given the history of people saying inappropriate things to you (and maybe another recent development regarding a certain author who ended up not authoring for the site anymore), I see why it’s easy to get your back up. But I don’t quite get why this particular poster earned the amount of ire and snark that you posted back to him. Take that for what you will.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            He’s not saying that he doesn’t like political content.

            He’s saying that he shouldn’t have to SEE political content.

            More precisely, he’s saying that as he scrolls through the list of articles on this 100% free website, his eyes should not be BRIEFLY TROUBLED BY A HEADLINE.

            If that doesn’t scare you, it should.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Come on now. You’ve spun a rather bizarre tale here, and its connection with cars is tenuous at best.

            The ad is about cars, but your gripes about it don’t really have anything to do with cars at all. It’s not even particularly political, but just comes off as a men’s rights culture rant.

            There comes a point when off-topic content detracts from the site. If I came here and found hairstyling tips and chicken recipes, I would probably be annoyed not because of any dislike for hair or chicken but because that’s not what one would hope to find on a website about cars.

            (For what it’s worth, the story that really irritated me was this one:http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/12/hondas-new-style-minivan/ I would hope that a site founded to attack industry PR would not regurgitate a press release puff piece.)

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Nice piece of work, supports my observations about Audi drivers.I’m a bit offended also as I too, have owned them.I’m less likely to in the near future. Not because of the commercial or any stigma associated with VAG cars, but mainly due to current styling directions of the brand, and lack of manual transmissions. After all, I live in my own meritocracy.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Politics and gender/race/height? conclusions be damned. That was a fine breakdown of film and scene. If TTAC ever no longer suits you, please go into advertising, as we all know this is where much of societal modeling starts and ends.

    Properly applied details steer the whole piece.

  • avatar
    Chan

    I didn’t think of it this way, but now that you’ve lent an alternate view of this ad, would it have helped if they put a $40k A4 instead of an $80k A7?

  • avatar

    I think what this ad really means is that traditional, million dollar advertising is too slow to keep up with the zeitgeist. When they were bainstorming, filming and approving this ad it looked as if, to the ad guys and Audi merchants, this type of ad was going to get millions of emotional shares on reddit, instagram, imgur and facebook. And it still might, but a lot of people are going to watch this ad and think, gee, Audi thinks we’re all women hating jerks, I’d better go buy an Audi so people think I’m totally woke. I think a couple of months ago people rejected just this kind of advertising for something that was arguably more important than a new car. I’m talking, of course, about light beer.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Jesus Jack, why so cynical? The only other person who could watch this spot and see so much darkness is the soulless highly talented designer who story boarded it.

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    I think the ad’s “What do I tell my daughter?” structure is just silly. For each of the “Do I tell her that …” suggestions the dad makes, the obvious response is, “F**k no; why would you tell her that??” If at some point she asks you about a credible instance of wage discrimination, tell her that it’s wrong.

    Also, what exactly happens in the race? The girl yanks on that shiny McGuffin lever, a brief zig-zag ensues, and somehow she wins. I don’t know much about Soapbox-type events, but it always looked like the skill was in building the car, with the driver being mostly dead weight in the actual race.

    In movie shorthand, I always thought a pudgy (usually boy) kid was meant to signify a potential bully (due to being bigger than the other kids) who’s going to get his comeuppance by an underdog. Once they’re pointed out, I also see the rich-poor, tall-short, etc. dichotomies despite the murky light and fast cuts, but hasn’t every commercial since the dawn of time depicted users of their products as more attractive by conventional/shallow criteria than the rest of us?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      She’s about to pass the two front-runners, then the big fat kid tries to take her out but she hits the brake, falls back, and he ends up taking out the other front-runner along with himself instead. She retains enough momentum to beat the slower car that catches up during the melee.

      The ad doesn’t bother me aside from the wage inequality stuff. That concept is just so foreign to me that it comes across as tripe. My mother made more, in a more secure job, as a nurse than my father made as an electrician, and my most serious post-university girlfriend made more counting pills as a pharmacist than I did in an actual engineering role, despite her job being simple and her schooling consisting almost entirely of rote memorization. Her words, not mine. My income only exceeded hers when I went to the oilfield, but nobody would do that job for normal money. Well, except for the foreign new grads that the giant soulless corporation that bought my former employer now imports.

      Not only will a future hottie like the girl in the ad be put on a pedestal by every guy she meets – which should be to her advantage if she’s smart about it – but she could go into engineering and get every interview and job offer possible despite middling grades, as it was with the females in my 93% male graduating class. I wouldn’t recommend it though. Pharmacy seems like the better route.

      • 0 avatar
        King of Eldorado

        OK, I kinda picked up on the one kid trying to take her out and her dropping back temporarily, so I’ll buy your analysis of that for now.

        As for your anecdotal evidence about your experience with women doing well with respect to their compensation, I should elaborate on my statement that if this guy’s daughter asks him “about a credible instance of wage discrimination,” he should “tell her it’s wrong.” As to the latter, by “it’s wrong,” I meant that wage discrimination is wrong, not that his daughter was wrong.

        By “a credible instance” of wage discrimination, I meant one that is adjusted to apply to a near-identical position filled by a person with closely similar education, experience, seniority, etc. Thus, comparing a nurse to an electrician, or an engineer to a pharmacist, is an inapt comparison from the start. There are simply too many other variables to make a case of “credible” wage discrimination.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I agree. I actually think my mother deserved to make more than my father. The stories of cleaning up and dealing with dementia patients and ridiculously obese patients left me wanting nothing to do with health care.

  • avatar
    Hurf

    Mr. Baruth, you should channel The Last Psychiatrist more often.

    You’re pretty good at it.

  • avatar
    Chica

    There is a black child racing. You can see him briefly at the 8 second mark.

  • avatar
    alanbean

    Notice how many arguments start from a false premise. “Equal pay for equal work” has been the law of the land in the US for what, almost 50 years?

    It’s not even a thing.

    And yet this moronic commercial sets it up as if it IS a thing, and then knocks it down with extreme gusto. All while asking you to feel bad for the rich dad because….because….he has a daughter.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    My closing comment. Jack may be correct in his observations ( I think he is) but if you check the most recent sales numbers you will deduce that Audi is doing something right. Their increasing sales numbers, as a percentage, exceeded most others, particularly BMW and Mercedes. Is it the cars or the ads? Even in the face of the diesel debacle, VAG sales have been considerably better than the bulk of the industry and VW now leads Toyota in global sales. It is what it is.

  • avatar

    There’s some irony here. Jack will point out to his critics that when they read his posts and then comment, those two clicks help his career as a writer.

    This post, which has gotten linked at Instapundit and a couple of other popular sites, will cause more people to watch the Audi ad. Since it seems that a lot of high end advertising these days is focused more on winning Clio awards and getting Super Bowl buzz than it is on spurring actual sales, the views of the ad that this post have generated will only convince Audi and their agency of the rightness of their path.

    I’ll have to ask my son, he’s the physics guy, I’m not certain, but I think it was Heisenberg who said that you can’t observe something without affecting it. Criticizing something brings attention to it.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Just watched this again and was thinking about the background music. It reminds me of the movie Master and Commander. What that has to do with Audi or soap box derby racing IDK, but I liked that movie so I guess that means I will also like the commercial.

  • avatar
    bortlicenseplate

    Christina Hoff Sommers said it best:

    “Want to close wage gap? Step one: Change your major from feminist dance therapy to electrical engineering. #NationalOffendACollegeStudentDay”

    https://twitter.com/CHSommers/status/664172152992722944

  • avatar
    Rollo Tomassi

    One thing that seems to be missing from everyone’s evaluation of this commercial is that Audi spent $10M on this spot using San Fransisco ad agency, Venables, Bell & Partners.

    https://cheddar.vhx.tv/cheddar-archive/videos/cheddar-closing-bell-s3-e020317-h-full-mezz-hd-en-us

    Audi’s been getting run up the flagpole even by the feminists they’d hoped it would resonate with, but what gets lost here is that this $10M spot was conceived, planned, shot and likely had post production in process well before the election. They presumed, like hundreds of other media conglomerates, that Hillary Clinton would be in the White House by the time the Super Bowl happened.

    This is clearly evident in the VB&P’s messaging riding Clinton’s perpetuating the feminist pay gap myth and her promises to solve it as part of her campaign platform. Audi had so much money invested in this spot they couldn’t afford not to go with it. Perhaps unintentionally, Audi decided to double-down on it and now have themselves a PR crisis.

    The takeaway here is the degree of self-certain hubris media producers and their corporate clients had in a Hillary Clinton win.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    I haven’t read a film dissection like this since “The Definitive Explanation of the Soprano’s Final Episode.”

    https://masterofsopranos.wordpress.com/the-sopranos-definitive-explanation-of-the-end/

    But let’s not forget – SPAM won the superbowl ad wars. Seriously – who hasn’t thought about picking a few cans up after those ads?

  • avatar
    rpm1200

    “And that’s a shame, because if you ask any competent Soap Box Derby participant, they’ll tell you the race is won in the prep shop, not at the hill.”

    As Martin Prince said, “The driver is essentially ballast”.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    I loved it Jack.


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