November 4, 2020
German automaker Audi offers a glimpse of a socially-distant holiday season in its newest humorous video campaign.
Audi has typically used humor to convey relatable scenarios in its holiday spots and this year’s promotion of the Season of Audi sales event is no different. As many consumers will be spending their holidays at home, safely distant from friends and family, the advertisements utilize the same sense of humor in empathetic ways.
"In the COVID-19 environment, it’s no surprise that Audi wants to connect with its customer base in a setting that feels realistic and empathetic," said Camille Woodward, business development program manager of strategic partnerships at PureCars, Atlanta. "Millions of people can connect and relate to the setting of being home, and Audi is looking to tap into that."
Season of Audi
“The Neighbors” is the first ad promoting the end-of-year sales event, and pokes fun at people who seem to go above and beyond with holiday decorations, creating competition between neighbors.
The 30-second spot opens on a couple stringing lights along the roof of their already excessively decorated house.
“Twelve hundred strings of lights,” the man says.
“A mile of tinsel,” the woman responds.
“And real snow all the way from Switzerland,” he continues.
“It’d be tough to top,” the woman smirks as she looks up to the house across the street where two Audi SUVs are parked in the driveway.
The Neighbors plays off spirited competitions
The headlights and brake lights of the vehicles begin lighting up seemingly in sync with the symphonic music to the point at which they appear to be sparkling.
The couple becomes speechless — starstruck, if you will. As the man sits in bewilderment, the woman softly admits defeat and concludes, “Well played.”
"Consumers have spent more time than ever before in the comfort of their own home—they can identify with hanging Christmas lights outside with family," said Ms. Woodward. "With more than one way to shop for a vehicle today—online or inside the showroom, the Audi holiday ads highlight customers who subsequently notice their neighbors Audis and can’t seem to look away."
"Awareness to daily objects and routines that typically go unnoticed are suddenly heightened in the stay-at-home environment," she said.
The second commercial focuses on a man in his home putting together a carefully crafted gingerbread replica of his home. The idea of crafting and coming up with things to do around the house has been a major theme of quarantine throughout the year.
Audi vehicles can prove distracting during holiday festivities
The spot opens on the man very carefully piping icing along the facade of his creation, using a large hands-free magnifying glass to be as meticulous as possible.
Suddenly, the sound of a revved engine grows increasingly louder and the man drops his tools, pushes the magnifier aside and looks out the window to see an Audi coming quickly down the winding road.
He is so mesmerized by the sight of the vehicle that he leans forward and accidentally crushes a corner of the house he has, presumably, spent so long creating.
The camera cuts to a doorway perspective where the daughter sees her dad fully on top of his work station, having completely destroyed the gingerbread house.
“Mom, it happened again,” the daughter shouts.
Years of pathos
Audi has solidified a tradition of evoking emotion through an examination of the human experience in its ad campaigns, especially around the holidays.
Last year, Audi took cues from nature documentaries for its holiday spots to create a bond through shared human experiences. The campaign focused on some of the more stressful aspects of the holidays, like traveling or untangling tree lights, but offered Audi vehicles as alternatives to mundane or frustrating tasks (see story).
For its 2018 holiday campaign, Audi turned classic holiday tales into empowering notions of the present putting the spotlight on the consumers themselves. The theme of the ads was centered on those who earned the Season of Audi Sales Event by working their hardest all year long for their loved ones (see story).
"The Audi holiday ads are presented in a way that consumers can connect and relate to the brand on a more personal level," Ms. Woodward said. "This shows the brand has a sense of awareness and sensitivity to the increase in customers staying at home for the holidays."