Adwatch: Audi's boxing spot lands a hit

Al Young from Inferno reviews Audi's "The Ring".

This is how Adwatch works.

You are sent a list of 20 TV spots and choose one to write about.

Faced with sifting through such a large smorgasbord of work and not a lot of time in which to do it, I think you need to cut to the chase and ask yourself: "Would I want to see this commercial again?" And to be fair, there were several that I did.

Like the Barclays football sponsorship film, clearly made by people who get football. Or the lovely John Lewis home insurance film, clearly made by people who get home insurance and John Lewis.

But I am going to get behind the latest Audi spot. Because the people who made it clearly get lightness of touch. For such a seemingly effortless skill, it’s very hard to get right – and in our industry, sadly, it’s very rare.

The ad tells the story of two boxers slugging it out in the ring and a referee who intervenes periodically to keep the fight flowing and fair. It signs off with the line "Power from a less obvious place".

It is everything you’d expect from Audi and BBH. It’s sublimely engineered – music, photography and story adding up to something greater than their parts – and, like so many Audi spots that have come before it, the idea comes from a less obvious place.

It doesn’t overexplain. Rather, it equips me with just enough of the story to let me feel good about completing it for myself. By implying the story rather than spoon-feeding it to the audience, I have every reason to want to see it again.

The people who made this ad clearly 'get' lightness of touch

There used to be a poster on the wall in our studio (since stolen) that read "AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE BUT NO FUCKING SIMPLER."

And on such deft simplicity, Audi has built the greatness of its brand.

It really gets its audience.

It gets that they are intelligent people, and that Audi drivers are Audi drivers precisely because it is a less obvious choice of car than, say, a BMW.

This isn’t the best Audi spot ever, but it’s certainly good enough to illustrate the mutual respect that the brand shares with its customers.

Cats in shark suits will make people want to see your film again.

But so will simply doing the audience the courtesy of acknowledging their ability to work things out for themselves.

(Click image to enlarge)

Adwatch prompted advertising-awareness research was conducted by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64. For details of the survey, contact (020 7656 5890). Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and Mediaedge:cia UK (020 7803 2000).