Audi Attempts Evel Knievel’s Jump Across Snake River Canyon

By Ella Riley-Adams 

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