The major auto companies are using their Super Bowl airtime to make a statement, and Audi’s is a strong endorsement for equal pay for women, featuring an epic box-car race that hits all the right nostalgia buttons.
Audi is using its Super Bowl spot to brand themselves as a champion for equal pay, instead of selling a specific car. It’s a bit more issue-focused than the approach Ford is taking for the Super Bowl, but still represents a general trend toward egalitarian ideals as a selling point for automakers. Ford’s ad showed off the company’s shift toward “mobility,” rather than cars and trucks, Audi shows off its commitment to a progressive-lite agenda as a branding strategy to diversify its audience. All that aside, the Audi ad is a real tear-jerker for dads with daughters.
Between the box-car race and the fact that the whole ad is sort of sepia colored, the ad is really working to get those nostalgic early 90s home video vibes.
Our driver wears a copper-racing helmet, taking on the coolest box-car track ever while accompanied by a dramatic cello track. Over the action, the driver’s dad wonders what he’s going to tell his daughter about the fact that women are still valued less than men in most of today’s workplaces. But the race ends on an uplifting note (and a gratuitous shot of an Audi TI): “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. Progress is for everyone.”
For its message and guaranteed good vibes, Audi’s ad wasn’t quite as progressive as it could be (it was still overwhelmingly white). But getting an audience to associate a brand with things they approve of are a great marketing strategy, and Audi seems to actually be putting its money where its ad is.
Right now, Audi’s entire career page is very focused on its efforts to improve opportunities for women. The company also signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge, which basically encourages companies to move towards equal payment for women. On its career page, Audi states:
This pledge underscores our ongoing commitment to womens equality in the workplace. Respecting and rewarding all of our colleagues fairly and equally will allow us to travel fearlessly forward down this road faster than any of our vehicles ever could.
Audi wasn’t exactly quick to jump on the Equal Pay Pledge bandwagon, though: it signed in December, and the pledge was announced back in June. But marketing ploy or not, Audi is investing in women this Super Bowl, and that’s pretty damn cool.