Audi R8 ad banned in UK due to single complaint

A recent tv advertisement aired in the UK for the Audi R8. The ad opens up with a close up of a driver’s eye and we hear the 5.2 liter V10 of the Audi R8 roar to life. As we hear the engine start, the driver’s pupil dilates. Following that, we hear the driver start to drive and we hear the R8 fire through its gears.

In the reflection of the driver’s eyes, we can see street and tunnel lights passing by quickly. His eye twitches left and right, as the R8 flies through corners, which each movement and sound of the engine rev, his pupil dilates. We can clearly see the driver’s excitement, adrenaline and focus in his pupil. It’s actually a pretty great tv spot and makes the R8 seem incredibly exciting.

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However, one single viewer in the UK felt otherwise and claimed this tv spot to be irresponsible. According to the UK ASA (Advertising Standards Agency), it is indeed irresponsible and “in breach of the code regulating motoring ads”. Because of this, the UK ASA has pulled the ad from the air. Audi claims that the speeds the R8 was traveling at during the filming of the ad were only 30 mph, but the agency isn’t buying it. “We considered that viewers would interpret the changes in pupil size as an emotional response to the movement of the car, as represented by the sounds that were audible during eye sequence”, said the ASA.

Audi has issued a statement, trying to rebut the pulling of this ad, saying “The ad was particularly intended to highlight the car’s carbon ceramic brakes, the new, naturally aspirated engine, and the 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox”. Audi also claims that this ad is purely fantasy, as an eye doesn’t actually work like that.

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While we agree that this won’t encourage anyone to drive any more irresponsibly than a 5.2 V10 Audi R8 would on its own, it doesn’t seem as if the ad will ever make its way back. The UK ASA seems pretty set in the idea that this ad is irresponsible. Check the ad out at the bottom and let us know what you think.

CategoriesR8 Video
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.