I still say that the best car commercial I’ve ever seen was Audi’s R8 commercial during the Super Bowl a few years back, dubbed “Starman“. That commercial portrayed an aging astronaut that regained his sense of exploratory thrill in the Audi R8. Now, Audi is back with another commercial that is almost as great and also has an R8 rekindling a long-lost fire in the soul of an enthusiast. Except this time it’s an Audi R8 Spyder that reminds a man of better days, before autonomous cars.
The ad starts with David, sitting in his futuristic office in a massive, urban metropolis, lined with futuristic looking skyscrapers. As he leaves his office, he gets into an autonomous car that meets him outside of his work. As he gets in, he greets it, saying “Evening, Clara”, referring to the autonomous AI system of the car. “Home, please.” he continues. A cup of espresso then rises from the center console (which is an admittedly awesome feature that I hope soon exists) and he sips it longingly. Clara must be able to read his body language (a technology that isn’t far off, to be honest) and realizes he’s feeling a bit blue.
“David, what’s on your mind?” says Clara. “I was just thinking of a different time, is all.” David responds, as he begins to reminisce about his days of actually driving his Audi Quattro and Audi TT. He remembers days of having his friends in his cars, as he drove through both the city and back country roads. He also remembers driving his Audi R8 Spyder with the top down and a woman in the passenger seat.
As he gets home, his autonomous car lowers into a space underneath his driveway on its own and his lights come on for him as he enters his home. As he sips yet another espresso (David has good taste), while overlooking a stunning view from his home, Clara tells him that he should relax. But David says “I’m afraid that’s just the problem” as he drops his espresso on the floor, shattering the glass. “David, where are you going?” asks Clara, as he disappears into his garage to take the cover off of his old R8 Spyder. “David?!” Clara asks as he rips out of his garage, with its V10 growling and a smile on his face.
It’s a great commercial that reminds us that driving is about being connected to the car, experiencing the drive and the journey. It’s not about sitting in a self-propelling pod that talks to you. It also seems to tell us that, even when autonomous cars become the norm, Audi won’t stop making driver’s cars.