August 22, 2019
German automaker Audi is announcing the North American arrival of one of its most iconic models through a cinematic campaign about a lifelong passion for the marque.
After 25 years, the high-performance Audi RS6 Avant will make its debut in the United States and Canada in 2020. In an emotional film marking the reveal, Audi follows one man’s journey from childhood to adulthood through the perspective of his love for the Avant.
“Not only does the Audi RS 6 Avant represent the next chapter in the highly successful history of Audi Sport, it also stands for 25 years of unbridled passion, patience and dedication of Audi fans here in the U.S.,” said Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing, Audi of America. “This campaign was an opportunity to honor that dedication in an emotional and nostalgic way while also speaking directly to the personality of today’s Audi driver – someone with an insatiable desire to blaze his or her own path and stand out from the pack, and nothing stands out more than the Audi RS 6 Avant.”
With a striking station wagon silhouette, Audi’s Avants have cultivated a dedicated following despite not being sold stateside. The model’s name means innovative or original.
Although the station wagon body of the RS6 Avant is not normally associated with high-performance vehicles, its V8 engine can power the car to reach a speed of 60mph in 3.6 seconds and tops out at 155mph.
“Audi is associated with performance,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics consulting at J.D. Power, Nashville, TN. “Its S sub-brand was established many years ago as a cut above its normal bread and butter products, a strategy that we now see emulated by BMW and Mercedes-Benz sprinkling a bit of their M- and AMG-badged magic on mid-grade performance models.
“Above that for Audi is the RS brand, which competed against the full M and AMG editions,” he said.
In “An Avant Story,” the male protagonist is captivated with the Audi brand since early childhood. He is shown as an infant, sitting securely in the back of an Audi while his parents ride in the front seats.
“In her love, in his strength, my passion was instilled,” the young narrator explains in a voiceover.
“An Avant Story” shares the story of a man’s lifelong love for Audi
As a toddler, the protagonist runs around the Audi parked in his family’s driveway. He even gently tries to play with the rings on the Audi’s grill.
When the protagonist gets a little older, he plays with toy cars and watches car races on television alongside his father. Even his birthday cake is shaped to resemble an Audi race car.
After the birthday candles are blown out, the scene transitions to show the narrator as a teenager.
The young man looks forlorn watching a television commercial for the 1994 RS2 Avant. The ad includes the caption, “Not available in U.S.A.”
Instead, the teen lives out his passion for racing by riding go-karts with his friends, imagining it is an Avant.
While the young man lusts for his own Audi, he settles for driving his parents’ Audi as a young adult – complete with the novelty license plate reading “Foxy.” In a montage, he continues to grow older behind the family car.
One day, the man is driving when he passes a newer, red Audi model. He locks eyes with the woman driver, and quickly makes a U-turn to go talk to her.
“We don’t get to choose when our next chapter starts,” the older version of the protagonist says. “It’s the moments we least suspect that change everything.”
The woman works in car racing, and she takes the man for a drive on the track in her RS4 as they get to know each other.
They fall in love, and the protagonist proposes. The couples leaves their wedding in the red RS4, complete with a new vanity plate reading “Viva Avnt,” abbreviating Avant.
summoning circle, hope this works
🕯 Avants in the U.S. 🕯
— Audi (@Audi) March 8, 2019
Audi has been teasing the Avant reveal for some time
The film continues to follow the man across other milestones, including the passing of his father. He is shown crying in the driver’s seat of his Audi, illustrating the brand’s continued presence in the highs and lows of his life.
As the engine of the Avant roars loader, the man’s life continues to accelerate forward. He and his wife welcome a daughter their own, and she quickly develops a passion for Audi in the footsteps of her parents.
The daughter, representative of the next generation of Audi lovers, grows up playing with model cars and getting car cakes just as her father did. She is even able to watch her mother on television living out her dream.
“This campaign is extremely unique, at least for U.S. consumers,” Mr. Jominy said. “I can’t recall the last time a manufacturer built a sales campaign around wagons, and certainly not to the scale and quality of what Audi launched.
“The RS 6 is a legendary brand to car enthusiasts who share stories about its prowess and capabilities – there are even stories about the lengths that thieves would go to steal RS 6 Avant in Europe,” he said. “It is also one of the last pieces of forbidden fruit that consumers in Europe and elsewhere in the world have experienced, but never U.S. consumers.”
Audi often crafts comedic or heartfelt campaigns, especially when celebrating landmark moments.
The automaker also leveraged the Super Bowl to bring awareness to its new electronic endeavor, as the EV category grows. The minute-long commercial “Cashew,” touches on the notion of utopia and the love of cars, which is known to span generations (see story).
In another recent campaign, the automaker encouraged drivers to be open to the different places their vehicles can take them in a relatable video campaign.
“Where Next?” follows a protagonist as he makes a career change and ponders the opportunities in front of him. Audi builds an empathetic narrative as everyone can relate to the anxiety and excitement that comes with life changes and the importance of family as motivation (see story).
“While the Avant announcement is exciting for enthusiasts, I don’t expect much in the way of sales momentum,” J.D. Power’s Mr. Jominy said. “However, Audi has us talking about it, so there’s at least a small bump in awareness and excitement.”