Audi pokes fun at Lexus (and Lexus drivers)

A humorous Audi TV commercial pokes fun at Lexus' self-parking mechanism.

Grant McCracken has a great post about the Audi A4 commercial that pokes fun at Lexus' new car that parks itself. You may have seen the ad on TV - the camera is holding still on an empty parking spot on a quiet leafy street with lawn sprinklers puffing in the background. An Audi A4 comes zooming up and does a 180 to land perfectly in the spot (between two Lexuses by the look of it!).

Grant comments that Audi has turned its perceived disadvantage (lack of a tech whizzy feature) into an advantage:

[The ad] makes the Lexus look like a choice of the mechanically incompetent or automotively timid. Cars continue to be a demonstration of other kinds of competence in our culture. (This is why "getting your license" is our great rite of passage.) The Parking spot makes Lexus looks like the choice of people who are intimidated by the task of parallel parking. Let's be honest. We are all intimidating by parallel parking. Who do you know who is prepared to admit to this intimidation? Audi is the luxury car for people can park themselves...at speed...while moving in the opposite direction...as it were. Audi becomes the car for people who are equal to the task. Lexus the car for the faint of heart, the limp of wrist, the wan of spirit.

I find this particularly ingenious because for years Audi's slogan has been "Vorsprung durch Technik" (progress through technology), and in this case Audi is perceived as lacking in technology. What they have done is turn this around to say that philosophically they are focused on technology that enriches the driving experience, rather than removing the driver from it.

You can see a video of the ad here.

Video of the Lexus parking itself, courtesy of Gizmodo

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