Audi and Airbnb Offer Up a Crazy House in Death Valley, and a Great Ad to Go With It

Up for a little 'Desolation'?

If you fancy hanging out in the sizzling-hot middle of nowhere, with an endless expanse of sand all around and the occasional scorpion scuttling by for distraction, Audi's got the promotion for you.

As part of its Emmy Awards sponsorship, the auto brand and Airbnb will offer fans the chance to book three-day getaways at the luxury Rondolino Residence in Death Valley, Nevada. The place is so isolated, it has no actual address—just coordinates on a map.

Guests get to drive a 2017 Audi R8 during their stay, which also includes chauffeur service from the airport, meals prepared by a personal chef and, according to press materials, "evening entertainment/activities." (Scorpion races, perhaps?)

To tout the promo, Venables Bell & Partners created the fun spot below—it almost feels like a Super Bowl ad—which is running online and will also air during ABC's Emmys telecast on Sunday.

Subtly titled "Desolation," the clip was shot in and around the Rondolino house, and it traffics in dry humor—very dry humor, given the desert locale, with Dad getting a tad absent-minded beneath the relentless rays of the sun:

A java run in that heat? Maybe they were planning to make ice coffee. (Pretty cool, though, how that old-timey phonograph clack-clacks along with the soundtrack.) 

"We came across the Death Valley home on Airbnb," Loren Angelo, Audi of America's vp of marketing, tells AdFreak. "We immediately knew this would be the place for this car to call home, away from traffic lights, speed limits, congestion that might slow you down."

The target audience, he says, consists of "anyone with a sense of adventure. Since we air during the Emmys, we hope the campaign resonates with the wide audience that tunes in. But more specifically, we know that Gen X and millennials will respond most to the campaign, as those audiences are more likely to book a travel experience like this."

And if the folks who book the place start freaking out from all that arid desolation, the R8's ability to top 200 mph should get them back to civilization in no time.

More pics of the Rondolino house below. 


Client: Audi of America

Spot: "Desolation"

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness

Creative Directors: Justin Moore, Erich Pfeifer

Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Matt Keats

Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Matt Miller

Senior Art Director: Kyle Jones

Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen

Senior Producer: Matt Flaker

Senior Art Producer: Shelly Amin

Senior Art Producer: Joe Rossman 

Production Company: MJZ

Director: Craig Gillespie

Director of Photography: Phillip Lesourd

Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson

Producer: Martha Davis

Editing Company: Final Cut Editorial

Head of Production/Final Cut: Suzy Ramirez

Editor: Crispin Struthers

Music Company: Human

Composer: James Lei Bow

Creative Director: Craig Deleon

Executive Producer: Jonathan Sanford

Sound Design and Mix: 740 Sound

Mixer: Chris Pinkston

Sound Designers: Chris Pinkston, A. Josh Reinhardt, Rob Marshall

Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

Producer: Jeff Martin

Associate Producer of Mix: Geena Richard

VFX/Finish: Framestore

Colorist: Beau Leon

VFX Senior Executive Producer: James Razzall

VFX Senior Producer: James Alexander

VFX Creative Director: Alex Thomas

Photographer: Sean Klingelhoefer

Head of Brand Management: David Corns

Brand Directors: Chris Bergen, Ally Humpherys

Brand Supervisor: Alexis Lovett 

Assistant Brand Manager: Bri Jones

Project Manager: Talya Fisher, Leah Murphy

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.