Audi Brings a Dead Man Back in Charming Twist on a Life Well Lived

Maybe there's a good reason to hang on after all

Audi of America

Audi is out with a new car that’s so exciting, it’ll give you a reason to live, says a new ad from Venables Bell & Partners.

In the spot, a family gathers around an old man’s death bed. Somber violin music plays as three generations watch him inhale raggedly, his eyes closed. “I’ve spent my life in motion,” begins the voiceover. A Most Interesting Man-like flashback montage reveals decades of adventure as a filmmaker around the world—tearing across the desert on a motorcycle, canoeing through a jungle, standing with a king, rolling up to a red carpet in a limousine, dancing in a meadow, and mingling with street protests.

“I’ve squeezed every drop of juice out of this life,” the voiceover concludes. “I’m ready for the next one.”

The man takes one last deep breath. His heart monitor flatlines. The woman at his bedside begins to cry and kisses his forehead.

But then, the twist. A 2018 Audi RS 5 Coupe conveniently pulls into the mansion’s driveway, revs the engine, does a quick three-point turn, and tears away. The man’s eyes snap open. His heart begins beating again. He screams for the car to wait.

“Time to update your bucket list,” reads the onscreen copy. Cue the footage of the car tearing down a winding forest road, vroom-ing enthusiastically as it goes.

Titled “Final Breath,” the ad is beautifully shot (by Epoch’s Martin de Thurah, best known for directing Under Armour’s Michael Phelps ad), with a clear if familiar message: This car is fun to drive. The ridiculous conceit, if not quite laugh-out-loud funny, helps save it from the obvious similarities to the Dos Equis campaign, instead detouring the bon vivant extraordinary elder statesman explorer trope into slapstick “Oops, not dead!” territory.

Whether it’s wise to liken the car to a crash cart is a different question altogether.

Client: Audi of America
Brand: Audi 2018 RS 5 Coupe
Spot/Length: ‘Final Breath’ Long Form :78 + Teaser :20

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
Founder, Chairman: Paul Venables
Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Justin Moore
Creative Director: Matt Keats
Creative Director: Matt Miller
Art Director: Aisha Hakim
Senior Copywriter: Jake Reilly
Creative Resource Manager: Jessica Youssefia
Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
Senior Producer: Matt Flaker
Producer: Emily Tarran
Head of Brand Management: David Corns
Group Brand Director: Cara Watson
Brand Director: Jon Philips
Brand Supervisor: Justin Wang
Brand Manager: Casey Warendorf
Brand Manager: Hope Stadulis
Group Strategy Director: Tonia Lowe
Group Strategy Director: Uli Kurtenbach
Senior Strategist: Mike Riley
Director of Business Affairs: Quynh-An Phan
Business Affairs: Sametta Gbilia
Director of Lumberyard: Raquel Bedard
MCR Operations Manager: Jeffrey Saunders

Production Company: Epoch

Director: Martin de Thurah
Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan
Producer: Emily Skinner
Director of Photography: Kasper Tuxen

Service Production Company in Mexico: The Lift

Managing Director: Avelino RodrĂ­guez
Head of Production: Ixhel PĂ©rez
Producer: Fuad Abed DaltĂłn

Editing Company: Work Editorial

Editor: Stewart Reeves
Assistant Editor: Josh Sasson
Producer: Brian Scharwath
Executive Producer: Marlo Baird

Sound Design & Mix: 740 Sound

Producer: Jeff Martin
Sound Designer/Mixer: Chris Pinkston

VFX Studio: The Mill LA
Executive Producer: Enca Kaul
Senior Producer: Dan Love
Post Supervisor: John Shirley
Post Coordinators: Jalisa House, Jasmine Singh
2D Artists
Flame: Elliott Brennan, Krysten Richardson, Matthew Dobrez, Sam Evenson
CG Lead: Shaun Comly
CG Artists: James Robinson , Sophie Prince, Danny Garcia
Matte Painting: Rasha Shalaby

Music Company: Human

Executive Producer: Jonathan Sanford
Creative Director: Craig Deleon
Composer: Christopher Kemp

Color Correction: Company 3

Colorist: Sofie Borup
Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.