Audi Heads to Space With a Stirring Super Bowl Ad Set to David Bowie’s ‘Starman’

Venables Bell spot pushes the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

Audi unleashed its 2016 Super Bowl ad on Wednesday, and it's destined to have one of the most talked-about soundtracks of any commercial on the game—"Starman," the 1972 track by David Bowie, who died last month at age 69.

The classic Ziggy Stardust song was enjoying a renaissance even before Bowie's death. It was played in full during a sequence of Ridley Scott's space film The Martian. And Bernie Sanders has been using it on the campaign trail.

The song brings great energy to the Audi spot, too, which tells the story of a retired astronaut who rediscovers his passion for life—and powerful machines—when his son lets him drive the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus.

Venables Bell & Partners created the ad, directed by MJZ's Craig Gillespie. It will run in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Audi released a :60 as well as an extended :90 (above) online Wednesday morning. 

The 2017 R8 is the fastest and most powerful Audi ever made, the brand says, with a top speed of 205 mph and a zero-to-60 acceleration of 3.2 seconds. That's not quite rocket speed, but it gives the spot its aspirational hook, expressed as a space theme. 

This is Audi's eighth Super Bowl ad, and the second to feature the R8. 

• For more Super Bowl 50 news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.


Client: Audi of America

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness

Creative Directors: Tyler Hampton, Erich Pfeifer

Senior Art Director: Rich North

Copywriters: Rus Chao, Paul Venables

Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen

Agency Executive Producer: Mandi Holdorf

Production Company: MJZ

Director: Craig Gillespie

Director of Photography: Masanobu Takayangi

Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson

Producer: Martha Davis

Editing Company: Final Cut Editorial

Editor: Rick Russell

Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld, CO3

Music Company: Agoraphone

Featured Song: "Starman" by David Bowie.

Music Supervisor: Dawn Sutter Madell

Sound Design: 740 Sound Design

Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

Sound Design Producer: Jeff Martin

Lead Sound Designers: Chris Pinkston, Rob Marshall:

Final Mix : Formosa

Mix Engineer: John Bolen

Visual Effects: The Mill

Visual Effects Producer: Ben Sposato

Visual Effects Supervisor: Gareth Parr

Head of Account Management: David Corns

Account Director: Chris Bergen

Account Supervisors: Ally Humpherys, Alexis Lovett

Account Managers: Oliver Glenn, Faire Davidson

Assistant Account Manager: Bri Jones

Project Manager: Talya Fisher

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