I drive an Audi, and I love it. In fact, it gave me cause to create my first and only vanity plate: HAUDI. (It’s not so much a vanity plate as it is a friendly greeting to my fellow motorists!) But as smart as the folks at Audi are when it comes to designing cars, they just exercised some surprisingly poor judgment from a communications standpoint.
Archive for the ‘inauguration’ category
Today–January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day–Audi ran an 8-page insert in most major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune to which I subscribe. The cover of this insert is very stark. It reads: “PROGRESS. It shapes. It changes. It leaves old ways behind. And brings new ways forward. It comes in many forms. The big and the small. The historical and the personal. The social and the scientific. And while we may never see it coming, we most certainly know when it has arrived.” At the bottom of the page: “January 20, 2009.”
This is clearly a reference to today’s historic inauguration of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. So when I opened the insert, I expected to see a sincere, well-worded message of congratulations to our new president, and perhaps some inspirational statement regarding the future prospects for our economy, our country and our world. Instead, I found seven pages that are all about Audi; there was absolutely no reference to the inauguration. What’s more, the few photos of Audi automobiles shown were quite unflattering.
So rather than making a classy move and scoring points with current and prospective customers by congratulating America on this momentous occasion, Audi is attempting to exploit the occasion. And in doing so, they made their cars look bad and their management look worse.
Call it “The Audi-city of Dope.”