All the hype around the new Audi spot got me thinking. They must really be banking on the evanescence of the average viewer’s pop-culture memory.
It strikes me as a bit of a strategic misfire to try beating up on their competitors’ brand images, especially BMW.* Especially given that Jason Statham drove a BMW 7-series in “The Transporter.” Moreover, that film, fun as it was, played like an extended version of one of the BMW “Hire” films, with Statham taking over the role of taciturn Brit from Clive Owen.
In my opinion, BMW did a much better job at establishing and maintaining its authenticity and credibility as a high-performance marque. Without a doubt, BMW was inspired by John Frankenheimer’s “Ronin,” which featured a jaw-dropping chase scene with—wait for it—an Audi A8. Indeed, Frankenheimer went on to direct the first installment of The Hire, “Ambush.”
My personal favorite of the Hire films, “Star,” was directed by Guy Ritchie, who was by then kind of a big deal for having made “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” notable for many reasons, not the least of which was introducing the world to a bald, beefy British badass named . . . Jason Statham.
Instead of trying to convince me that a new Audi is better than a 20-year-old Bimmer or a 30-year-old Benz (which only makes me wonder what’s the German word for “duh”?) Audi would be much better served by playing to its strengths: all-wheel drive innovation, racing and rallying heritage, etc. They won Le Mans a few years back—in a diesel. That might not mean much to the average Super Bowl viewer, but at least it's a story--their story--and not some lame retread of something BMW did better almost a decade ago.
*Full disclosure: I am a lifelong BMW fan, former owner of a Euro-spec 1979 323i and a 1970 2002, and future owner of a cherry Atlanikblau 1972 3.0CS, which is what I would get were I in a position to choose among the latest offerings from Munich, Ingolstadt, or Stuttgart. Plus, I’d have enough left over for a parts car, a 2002 project, an E3 sedan and an ‘80s vintage 535is--like the red one in the Audi spot--for daily flogging.