Monday, September 21, 2009

Consider The Cycle Broken

In one of this week's readings, Bucknell cited: "The first function of an advertisement is to create a differentiation between one particular product and others in the same category."

I can't think of a better recent commercial to illustrate this than Audi's "consider the cycle broken" campaign, which has been pushing Audi vehicles as an alternative to the brands (BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc.) that one typically thinks of when listing mid-range luxury vehicles.

At face value, the ad is rather simple--it depicts a typical high school level prep school (presumably for students who come from wealth), and the kind of meetings one would expect to see with a stereotypical guidance counselor / dean type figure. The student, who is well dressed and proper (yet with a certain edge), is being shown his life options. He can attend his choice of Ivy League school, go on to work as a doctor, lawyer, or stock broker, and purchase one of three cars. Then, his children will be able to follow the same path. It's a rather dismal circle of life, essentially suggesting that money doesn't breed happiness or originality.

Then, magically, the new Audi appears (conveniently enough, with darkened windows, so that we can picture ourselves in it rather than visualizing someone else behind the driver's seat). It accelerates and makes tight turns through beautiful deserted foliage, suggesting that it's the only car on the road.

We never see the student in the car, or ever even leaving the office, nor do we really have to. It's enough to have planted that spark of hope or possibility. He's not just deciding to buy a different brand car; rather, he's deciding to buy a different way of life.

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