Sure, the ad has a couple of amusing gags -- "release the hounds" unleashes a bunch of afghans, and Kenny G puts the rioting prisoners to sleep -- but the commercial doesn't really say anything about the car. Why is Audi, a company with roots dating back to the 1920s, "new" luxury? The ad doesn't really say what sets this big, German luxury sedan apart from other big, German luxury sedans. Except that it's the preferred choice of savvy minimum-security prison escapees.
BMW does a much better job with its ad for the diesel-powered 335d. The ad opens to a montage of diesel cliches: a smelly gas pump; black smoke belching from exhaust pipes (and a trucker's mouth); an old Mercedes-Benz 300D rattling to pieces; and a soot-encrusted Volvo wagon struggling up a hill. Then a bright blue BMW 335d bursts through the haze -- literally -- blasting past the onlookers and stunning them with its performance and cleanliness.
For me, this ad worked for two reasons. First, it actually says something about why this BMW diesel is different. By showcasing performance, BMW effectively changes the diesel association from the old smoke-belchers to a sleek high-performance machine. Second, conspicuously absent from the spot are fuel economy numbers. This isn't about saving fuel, it's about entertaining driving, one of BMW's core strengths. With its clear message and strong imagery, it's a much better ad. Hopefully, Audi was watching.
Audi: Release the Hounds