February 9, 2008
By: Jason Teller
It’s been a week since the Giants’ upset win over the Patriots giving Audi fans and the media alike plenty of time to ruminate over Audi of America’s bold Super Bowl advertising. For the record we’ll tell you that we give Audi’s Godfather inspired ad a solid B+ and here’s our rationale why.
First, the ad put the Audi R8 on the world’s biggest advertising stage. This vehicle has received as much press – positive press – as any new vehicle we can remember in recent history, but a good deal of that coverage came from automotive media. What makes the R8 so great is its massive curb appeal. Hardcore auto enthusiasts can appreciate it for its engineering and driving characteristics, but for everybody else it is simply an amazing looking car. Audi showed millions of US households, many of whom have never seen the R8, a glimpse at just how cool the brand has become.
Second, Audi of America deftly blended a dramatic reference from a celebrated film while delivering a knock-out punch with its messaging. The “new” power, the changing of the guard, the unequivocal messaging that the battle is already over were all brilliantly incorporated within The Godfather metaphor.
Third, it is our belief that this era marks the beginning of an unprecedented run for the Audi brand. This commercial, then, marks the coming out of what Audi hopes is a permanent move by the brand toward an iconic status. Audi hopes to follow in the foot steps of one of the most famous Super Bowl ads of all time, Apple’s 1984 ad for its Macintosh personal computer. That ad, much like Audi’s, was about fighting against the establishment of the IBM PC and IMB PC compatibles.
A small ding could be the movie reference itself which depends on the viewer’s familiarity with The Godfather. Younger viewers would be helpless to recognize the allusion to the famous scene, although, as mentioned in our first point, the Audi R8 eventually steals the show as it closes the commercial. Younger viewers undoubtedly remembered the R8 even if the beginning of the commercial made no connection.
All in all it was a thrill to simply see Audi on this stage. After covering the brand from near obscurity in 1996 through the Super Bowl ad of 2008 we can indisputably say that Audi is slowly but surely removing its “best kept secret” status.
Our assessment is in line with much of the commentary surrounding the ad this past week. Here is a summary of what others were saying.
Headline: Super Bowl Ad Game: Audi Roars, Hyundai Stalls
Quote: “I loved the spot. Original, well done, and most telling for me, it got people at the party I attended talking. In my opinion, Audi scored.”
Headline: Audi R8 Super Bowl Spot
Quote: “If you’ve seen the Godfather, you’re going to love what they did to showcase the R8. If you haven’t seen the Godfather, please be advised that isn’t something you should admit publicly, and go rent it immediately.”
Headline: Super Bowl: Audi R8 Supercar Plays on The Godfather
Quote: “Talk about making an offer you can’t refuse. If you’ve ever watched the Godfather anthology of movies (it’s a rite of passage for anyone connected to pop culture), then you’ll recognize the reference that Audi makes in its Super Bowl commercial.”
Headline: kbb.com Traffic to Audi R8 New-Vehicle Information Spikes During Super Bowl
Quote: “Traffic to the kbb.com new-vehicle information pages of the Audi R8 increased more than 1,800 percent when compared to the same time a week before (comparing Super Bowl Sunday, February 3 versus the previous Sunday, January 27).”
Headline: Audi ‘Godfather’ Ad a Super Bowl Winner
Quote: “It’s often called the “game within the game” – the ads that do battle with each other for viewers’ attention during the Super Bowl. There, the great brands go head to head: Coke and Pepsi; GM and Audi; Hershey and Planters.”
Detroit Free Press
Headline: Best Movie Parody
Quote: “Loved its use of original cast member Alex Rocco (who played Vegas kingpin Moe Greene in the film). Next year, how about convincing Al Pacino to do a “Godfather II” version?”
Headline: Audi’s Godfather Ad Powerful, Stellar, Captivating
Quote: “Audi tells us the commercial is meant to be an illustration of Audi’s resurgent attack on typical luxury vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes bed. In other words, there’s a new boss in town and it’d be best not to fuck with it.”
The Truth About Cars
Headline: Audi’s New Superbowl Ad Unveiled: Huh?
Quote: “The fact that producer discovers a generic grill- not a Merc, BMW, Rolls, Bentley, whatever- is a MAJOR wimp-out from Audi.”
Headline: Rating the Super Bowl Commercials
Quote: “Points for reinforcing the automobile’s brand; I’m mean, who even knew Audi was still a factor in the U.S. market?”
Headline: Winning Ads, and Fox’s Busted Play
Quote: “Meanwhile, the winner for the most electrifying commercial should probably go to Audi, which introduced its fantastic-looking R8 model with a spoof on the famed horse-head scene from “The Godfather.””
Philadelphia Daily News
Headline: Among Super Bowl Ads, these scored big
Quote: “Don’t mess with Audi. Grade: A- for its tribute to a classic movie and its ironic casting; the carmaker’s ad lifts from the famous “The Godfather” bedroom scene where a gray-haired movie mogul wakes up in his silk pajamas to find himself covered in blood, his beloved horse’s head at his feet.”
Headline: 2008 Super Bowl ads scorecard
Quote: “It was slick. It was sexy. What’s more it was filled with an offer of awesome luxury that car lovers just couldn’t refuse.
Score: A touchdown.”
If you haven’t yet seen the ad then you can see it, together with a good deal more content, at Audi’s www.truthinengeineering.com website.
We have also obtained a batch of photos from Audi covering some of the celebrities, surroundings and goings-on surrounding Audi during the week leading up to the game.