Because you are an enthusiast, you already know that Audi is expanding its TDI diesel lineup in model-year 2014 to include compression-ignition versions of the A6, A7, and A8 sedans, as well as the Q5 crossover. But the rank-and-file American luxury car buyer doesn’t necessarily know that yet, so Audi built three new commercials to spread the news and here it is ‘The Station’…
CarandDriver spill the details:
Two (“Focus” and “Range”) are 15-second spots that explain the more mundane basics of diesel superiority, but this one, titled “The Station,” is an entertaining piece dedicated to educating the masses on the point that diesel isn’t just for semis (or Volkswagens) anymore.
The spot focuses on a woman who pulls her pristine A8 TDI into a pristine fuel station and prepares to fill ‘er up. The horrified reactions of the onlookers and the tension-inducing directing let us know she’s about to initiate a catastrophic event. Is she going to unwittingly detonate a bomb, or maybe trigger a homing device for a drone? No, it’s far worse-she’s going to feed her brand-spanking-new, $80K-plus A8L a lethal dose of C14H30, a.k.a. diesel fuel!
Pumping diesel into a gasoline-powered engine has the potential to wreak unimaginable horror to its innards. I know this because, while on vacation in Portugal many years ago, I accidentally poisoned my rental Fiat with diesel and the results weren’t pretty. In addition to learning two new practical words in Portuguese (gasoleo and gasolina), I also learned a number of invectives from the participants in the huge traffic jam the dead Fiat created, including “estupido idiota,” “bastardo Americano,” and something rude about my mother. Or sister. The point is that everybody from ice cream-licking kids in the back of Volvo wagons to delivery guys and police officers knows that Audis and diesel don’t mix. Until now. (Never mind that the company has offered both the A3 and Q7 with diesel engines for some time. Suspend your disbelief, please.)
Given that that correlating the brand with diesel is the driving force behind this commercial, it should have quit while it was ahead. Once the A8 owner acknowledges that she’s willfully pumping diesel, they should have cut to the deck badging, run the supers, and ended the spot. But instead they cut to another, nearly identical white Audi in a nearly identical position.
You really need sharp eyes to tell it’s an A6, and not her A8, and the first several times I saw it, I couldn’t figure out who the guy was or where he came from. I know that white is supposed to equate to “clean,” but this confusion could have easily been avoided by simply giving him a differently colored car (the Audi website shows 12 exterior colors for the A6 TDI) if not different staging, like showing him pull in on the other side of the pump island. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t get it right away, but I think that after scoring a touchdown with a great storyline, excellent direction, and nice details like the muted screams (as in the wonderful “Ahab” Quattro commercial), Audi missed the extra-point attempt.