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Advertising at the Super Bowl is an investment; a 30-second spot cost $5 million this year, up from $4.8 million last year. So brands want to make the most of the time they’ve got. And this year, following the controversial election of Trump, advertisers banded together to champion diversity and celebrate human rights across the board.

Among these spots, Audi launched an ad that put cars on the back-burner altogether, bringing social issues to the forefront instead. The German automaker positions itself as an accessory to achieving gender equality in its #DriveProgress campaign, propelling its products beyond their purpose as a way to get from A to B.

The Super Bowl is a big stage that befits a big message
Audi (2017) ©

The campaign launched with the 2017 Super Bowl spot 'Daughter' – created by ad agency Venables Bell & Partners – which depicts a father reflecting on why his daughter should be valued less than her competitors on the basis of her gender. It culminates with the duo walking to their Audi, the brand’s pledge for equal pay coinciding with the father's musings that his daughter might grow up in a fairer world. “With 'Daughter', Audi continues to push the envelope with compelling storytelling on a national platform,” says Loren Angelo, VP of marketing at Audi of America. “Pay equality is a big message for a big stage.”

And it really is a big stage; in 2016, more than 112 million people tuned in to watch the game. The story presented by Audi is a departure from the speed- and luxury-focused ads common in the automotive world. And it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with brands across industries that are incorporating themselves into the wider social and political topics that are on people’s minds – like women’s rights and equality – rather than aiming to make a conversation exclusively about themselves and their products. Audi is tackling real social issues to show that it empathises with its customers and that it understands their fears and anxieties – ideal at a time when admitting an awareness of society’s imperfections is more likely to be welcomed by audiences than rose-tinted views of the world.

Mira Kopolovic is a writer and researcher with an MA in creative industries, which focused on artist-brand collaborations. She spends her spare time poring over dystopian literature.


06 Feb 17
2 min read

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