Audi has been a consistent presence in the Super Bowl, having shown seven commercials in the past games. One of those commercials occurred during Super Bowl XLII, when the New York Giants ended the New England Patriots’ undefeated season. The athletics aside, Audi remembers that game for an entirely different reason. That was the day it aired a commercial featuring the first generation Audi R8, the car that jump started the brand’s incredible sales growth in the U.S.
Eight years later and the German automaker has found itself in an oddly familiar position as it returns for its eighth go-round in the Super Bowl with a new 60-second commercial that features the all-new Audi R8 V10 Plus. The commercial is called “The Commander” and tells the story of a retired astronaut that has lost purpose in his life. He just sits blankly in his chair as he reflects on the memories he experienced in his old line of work. It isn’t until his son arrives that he stirs back to reality after Junior hands over the keys to the new R8 V10 Plus. And just like that, the thrill and excitement of adventures come rushing back in as he gets behind the wheel of the Audi and rockets out into the night.
Unlike the goofy approach that defined the “Godfather” commercial back in 2008, “The Commander” is a lot mellower, playing to the emotional attachment we all have for the things that give our lives purpose. When it’s lost, it’s hard to get it back. But that’s exactly what Audi’s message is for the new R8. It’s the kind of car that’s going to bring some life back to those veins, just the way it did for the Commander.
Why it matters
Audi has a particular fondness for releasing commercials during the Super Bowl that tug at the heartstrings for one reason or another. The Commander is a nice example of that as it tries to convey the exhilarating nature of the new R8 V10 Plus. The retired astronaut might as well be any of us.
I like how Audi resisted in using cheap laughs to get that point across. Now I don’t know what being an astronaut feels like, but I can only imagine the kind of adventures those people experience in their lifetimes. When that’s taken away, be it because of age or what-have-you, it’s normal to look back and yearn for all those memories, even if it comes at the cost of one’s current happiness. Often times, we find ourselves in that position too, and only something cool and exciting can snap us out of our funks.
The latest iteration of the German automaker’s sports car is considered the fastest and most powerful Audi of all time. No wonder the commander got all excited when he sat behind the wheel. It comes packed with a 5.2-liter V-10 engine that pumps out 550 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, allowing the car to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 3.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 197 mph. With numbers like those, it’s easy to see why the retired astronaut had that kind of rejuvenated reaction when his son handed him the keys.
Audi of America returns to the biggest night in football with a 60-second commercial titled “The Commander.” A 90-second extended version of the spot is now live on the Audi YouTube channel. Featuring the all-new Audi R8 V10 plus, “The Commander” will air on Sunday, Feb. 7 during the first quarter of the Big Game. San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners created the commercial.
“The Commander” tells the story of a retired astronaut who rediscovers his lust for life. Viewers watch as the man, surrounded by memories of the golden age of space exploration, sits solemnly, deep in reflection. When his son hands over the keys to a new Audi R8 V10 plus, he gets behind the wheel and relives the thrill of a rocket-like ride under the stars. Viewers watch as newfound life stirs within the Commander. Audi reminds us that amazing things happen when we shoot for the moon.
The 2017 R8 is the fastest and most powerful Audi of all time. In its second generation, the all-new Audi R8 V10 plus has a top speed of 205 mph with a 3.2-second 0-60 mph time for “rocket-like” performance. The Audi R8 and R8 LMS racecar were co-developed and share approximately 50 percent of the same parts, including the V10 engine which is identical in both cars. The speed and precision of the all-new R8 was proven on the track this month, when the R8 LMS took home the checkered flag its category in the Daytona 24 Race Classic. The new R8 features the latest Audi technology including Audi Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the classic instrument panel; Audi connect® with 4G LTE connectivity; and available Google Earth™ satellite maps. The new Audi R8 goes on sale Spring 2016.
This is the eighth showing for Audi in the big game, and the second time the brand has featured the Audi R8, the model that started the company’s growth trajectory in the U.S. In 2008, Audi launched the first generation R8 supercar with a commercial parody of the movie “The Godfather.” The highly acclaimed spot marked the brand’s Super Bowl debut and push into the competitive luxury market. Since then, the brand has experienced double-digit growth, setting a U.S. sales record of 202,202 in 2015, nearly five years ahead of schedule.