Do Your Part: Buy an Audi, Drive Fast

Today was International Walk to School Day, and according to this Audi commercial, if you participated you’re a big loser.

In all seriousness, this has to be one of the most obnoxious spots we’ve featured on Streetsblog. Basically, per Audi: If you take transit, you’re a glutton for punishment; if you ride a bike, you’re a hapless weenie.

But Audi owners? They’re just like you: "trying to do their part" for the environment. Only they do it by driving a $30,000, fossil fuel-burning, CO2-emitting private automobile. Though it is "clean diesel" — you can pretty much drink that stuff, right?

And judging by how the A3 is portrayed zipping along a curvy mountain road, leaving lesser vehicles in its wake, you’d best stay out of the way while Audi drivers go about saving the planet. Weenie.

  • James

    Pure fantasy BS, like 90% of car commercials… and this one makes a willful attempt to portray mass transit riders and cyclists as suffering tools who don’t know any better. Let’s see how much ‘fun you have doing your part’ while stuck on the Cross Bronx at 4mph – the car commercial you’ll never see.

  • But potential Audi drivers could be cycling or taking the bus. It’s a better ad in that respect than those Jeep ads that depict a family bouncing through the woods on its way to a fishing trip, as if there’s no other way to spend time with the family enjoying the outdoors.

  • SteveL

    As the owner of a VW clean diesel vehicle (7 years old, 21K miles on the clock, 1.9L TDi VW touran), my car does 45 MPG long-haul; that’s european speeds with luggage and bicycles. I don’t see how a newer, smaller, car can do worse mileage unless they’ve put in way too big an engine.

  • Funny how it doesn’t rain unless you’re riding a bike…

  • Danny G

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you…

  • Audi is scared of non-automotive transportation. Made my day.

  • SGreenberg

    Go to their web site and tell them how much you love the new ads. (See “About” at the bottom of the first web page).

  • rex

    James what do your mean by BS? I bought a caddy SUV and Kate Walsh delivered it and she totally rocked my world. Smolder my ass. Screw cash for clunkers, I say cash for cougars. BTW Kate was all over my ’72 International – I am still kinda jealous.

    ~~~~Whoa, sorry it was just the cat. The International was ripped 20 years ago, and Kate ain’t likely to stop by. You are right.

  • What a nice looking car. Thanks for posting that ad!

  • You can let Audi know how you feel here.

  • This is what I wrote to them:

    “I have just seen your commercial about “clean diesel” where you summarily mocked anyone and everyone who takes mass transit, rides a bike (or Segway), or drives a hybrid.

    In other words, you’ve successfully insulted the very market you wanted to tap.

    Might I suggest you take that commercial off the air and replace it with something that explains why *you’re* product is good instead insisting that anything else is bad.”

  • Bill from Brooklyn

    Excellent idea to email Audi through their website. I just left the following message:

    I just saw your commercial for the clean fuel diesel Audi. I am also an executive with 30 years experience. If our advertising people presented a similar type of ad for our business, I would be appalled. You insult the very market you are trying to embrace. As a car driver, who commutes by both bicycle and mass transit, I know one vehicle, yours, that will not be on my list for future consideration.

  • er

    If it’s gotten to the point where their competition is biking, busing, and walking, then we must be doing something right. Go team!

  • They’re drawing on the negative aspects of the alternative forms of transportation that are associated with “green” living to sell their cars. I don’t see where the problem is. Most people don’t want to commute in the rain on their bicycles, and most people don’t care for the cramped conditions on subways and buses. The guy on the segway simply deserves ridicule.

    And it’s your, not you’re.

    Why can’t we all just get along, as Rodney King once said? Audi is advertising a car that gets excellent mileage and is an excellent alternative to those who would consider a gas-guzzling SUV, the very demographic that isn’t going to even consider getting on a bicycle to commute.

  • And sorry, Mark, but Audi is not afraid of non-automotive transportation. They’re using the comparison to create a memorable ad, and are hardly concerned about someone seriously comparing an Audi A3 to a bicycle for his next transportation purchase.

  • The only demographic for this commercial is internet trolls.

  • Thanks for the scintillating ad, Audi.

    I’ll think twice now before buying one of your vehicles, assuming that I ever decide that it makes economic sense to use anything beyond a Zipcar, bus, trains, bike and my own feet 🙂

  • Marty Barfowitz

    It’s like Audi realizes its losing the eco-conscious consumer vote so they put out a negative ad against bikes and transit. Clearly, this means that bikes and transit are winning. You only go negative when you know you’re losing.

  • The Dynamic Mumeshantz

    I wish they would stop airing this ad during NFL games. It is seriously pissing me off.

  • zach

    Play their game! Let’s get the intro credits scene from Office Space on some ads! The old guy in the walker passing the commuters in their cars is classic. People walking down the street listening to ipods and talking, while people are stuck in traffic fuming. How about the video for REM’s Everybody Hurts? Yelling at Audi only shows that the ads work and it got people thinking about Audi. If the City wants bridge tolls on the East River, it needs ads with buses flying down Flatbush and across the bridge.

  • For anyone who hasn’t seen it, part of the intro credits scene from Office Space.

  • Anonymous

    42 MPG? Not bad.

  • J. Mork

    Thank goodness people like us don’t have to ride the bus with all of the swarthy and black people.

  • J:Lai

    I think some of you guys missed the point.
    This ad is targeting people who currently own an SUV or something like that, and want to be more environementally conscious without giving up what they see as the benefits of owning a car.
    That fact that it insults people who travel by means other than a car is probably an unintended consequence.

  • J:Lai, if that’s the case, why didn’t the ad ridicule SUVs?

  • steve

    nanterking & J:Lai have it right

  • Ann

    Seems like these traditional adverts (30 second video made for TV) only hurt the brand. Who watches TV anymore?? And here we see it going viral on the wrong media channel! Waste of time and brain.

  • steve

    i think sometimes (many times) a lot of you don’t realize how most of Americans live, who they are. Get out of your bubble. PLENTY of people will respond positively to this ad.

  • Steve, I lived like “most Americans” for 30 years, and have bought and sold more cars than I can remember without a pen and a pad. I agree that plenty of people will respond positively to this. What real American doesn’t want the easy solution — to the extent that paying for a $30K car is easy — while being congratulated to boot?

    I thought it was understood that that was part of the problem.

  • Paul B

    Lighten up! Nice ride.

  • myob1776

    Received back from Audi:

    “Thank you for contacting Audi of America. We appreciate your feedback
    on our A3 TDI clean diesel television advertisement. With this
    commercial our goal is to communicate that with our TDI vehicles, people
    can continue to “do their part” for reduced environmental impact while
    enjoying a sporty and dynamic driving experience. The A3 TDI utilizes
    the world’s cleanest diesel technology and reduces emissions by over
    30%. There are plenty of alternative transportation options that exist
    and our intention was never to diminish those other transportation
    options, but rather emphasize that the Audi A3 TDI can just make your
    priority of being more environmentally conscious a great deal more fun.

    Thank you for your feedback.”

    Seems to me their depiction of riding a bus, a bike, a Segway-wannabe, and a vegetable-oil-fueled car WAS more than a little “diminishing.”


“People Act as Though the Hybrid Could Solve All Our Problems”

In a lengthy interview with Spiegel, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn defends his company’s environmental record: SPIEGEL: Isn’t it embarrassing that German carmakers are not achieving the climate protection goals they have set for themselves? Winterkorn: No, because reaching these goals isn’t entirely up to us. The European auto industry made a commitment to reduce carbon […]

Congestion Pricing Q&A With Rohit Aggarwala, Part 4

DOT’s Dani Simons and City Hall’s Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Rohit Aggarwala, at a joint hearing of Manhattan Community Boards 4, 5 and 6 on July 9; one of many public hearings where Bloomberg Administration officials have met with communities to discuss congestion pricing. Tonight, Brooklyn Community Board 6 hosts a similar public […]

Paul Newell on Starting a Political Campaign in New York City

Last week Streetsblog caught up with Paul Newell, who’s mounting the first primary challenge to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 22 years. Discussing his candidacy, Newell made it clear that he is in it to win it. (He picked up some momentum yesterday, garnering the endorsement of BlogPAC, which describes itself as "a consortium of […]