Thirty-eight years ago, famed daredevil Evel Knievel drove a rocketship across Snake River Canyon. His purpose (and brand message) was simple: “I do it because I’m Evel Knievel.” Patriotic cape flying, the man could never say no to a jump.
Though the average vehicle owner drives for different reasons (groceries need to be picked up, kids have to get to swim practice), Audi aims to inspire the daredevil in its owners. To promote their new performance model, the RS 5, the brand has staged a return to Snake River Canyon.
Accompanied by a team of Audi engineers, a cherry red RS 5 and its anonymous driver speed towards the ramp backed by accelerating drumbeats. He takes off, we see the Audi logo, the sky from the drivers seat…and the 3-minute spot cuts out.
It’s an attention-grabbing ad with its footage of “the last gladiator” and amped-up, color-rich recreation. But without evidence of a safe landing, we’re left to wonder: does Audi’s driver just die? Does the car emerge victorious? One commenter calls the spot “YouTube blueballs.” It’s not a pleasant experience. While a modern sportscar should inspire frivolous daredevil desire, its buyers (or their significant others) might also want some sense of safety.
And I don’t know if they’re legally obligated, but Audi undermines its Evel Knievel vibes with the pre-roll warning: “Always drive safely and respectfully.” Only Subaru drivers pay attention to the fine print, and only idiots need to be told their Audi isn’t really for canyon jumping. It’s just for looking cool and occasionally driving 100 mph on the highway.
Credits after the jump.
Spot Title: “Return to Snake River Canyon”
Client/Production: Audi of America/Bandito Bros
Agency: Mediacom USA
Managing PArtner, Branded: Adam Pincus
Senior Director: Geoffrey Campbell
Coordinating Producer: Lindsay Washick & Abigail Staples
Client: Audi of America
Manager, Media/Brand Innovation: Benny Lawrence
Production Company: Bandito Brothers
Director: Loni Peristere
Executive Producer: Suzanne Hargrove
Producer: Karen RohrBacher
Directer of Photography: Larry Fong
Visual Effects Company: Zoic Studios
Executive Creative Director/Co Founder: Chris Jones
Executive Producer: Eric McCasline
Producer: Jennie Burnett
VFX Supervisor: Simon Mowbray
Lead Flame: Simon Mowbray
3D Supervisor: Andy Wilkoff & Dave Funsten
Editorial Company: Zoic Studios
Editor: Dmitri Gueer
Producer: Jennie Burnett
Asst Editors: Alison Veneto-Grady & An Dang
Sound Supervision: Charles Deenen & Tim Gedemer
Music Company: Squeak E Clean