Audi’s Super Bowl ad stars the super-sleek, presumed Tesla-challenging e-tron GT electric sedan, currently set to go on sale in early 2021.
The commercial is pretty odd from top to bottom, in that it starts with a young man wandering through some sort of agricultural dreamscape and stumbling upon his dead grandfather in front of a large farmhouse. Grandpa takes him into the barn and reveals the e-tron GT, which the grandson gets into and does a brief Marty McFly impression. Then he’s jolted awake: He was choking on a cashew. He’s actually in a gray-on-gray-on-gray office building and not in a fancy electric car.
Everyone in the office is excited that he didn’t die, though! (His co-worker heroically administered the Heimlich maneuver, ending his sweet dreams of electric cars and rebooted dead relatives.) Also, Audi announces at the end of the commercial, one-third of its cars will be electric by 2025. “Electric goes Audi,” as it were.
As Green Car Reports points out, the ad represents a significant moment for the electric car industry. Super Bowl ad slots are $5 million apiece, not counting whatever the company spent making a highly-produced, high-concept ad like this one. That’s a lot of money for a traditional automaker to put behind an electric vehicle. GCR contrasts this with electric car advertising spending for the full year in 2017 — when Nissan spent nothing to advertise its Leaf electric car, Toyota spent nothing to advertise its Prius Prime hybrid, and Ford spent nothing to advertise its C-Max Energi hybrid, focusing all their efforts instead on more popular crossovers and typical family cars.
Whether a Super Bowl ad can really do anything to elicit excitement about electric vehicles remains to be seen — and is frankly dubious! — but at least we all got a good scare.