Needless to say, it's caused some controversy.
There’s no way an automaker could get away with airing a commercial like this one in the US. Even its intended Chinese audience is having a problem with it. The Washington Post has learned that this Chinese market Audi commercial, which aired in movie theaters and online, is now causing grief for the German automaker, and China happens to be one of its biggest markets. The commercial starts off innocently enough, with a young Chinese couple at the wedding alter.
Just as they’re about to say their "I do’s," the groom’s mother objects and runs to the alter. She then begins to “inspect” her future daughter-in-law by pulling back her ear, pinching her noise and even examining the bride’s mouth. A horrified and embarrassed groom looks on. And once his mother is satisfied, she gives the "Okay" sign.
But the sigh of relief is short lived; psycho mother then turns her attention to the bride’s chest. Now, here’s where Audi is finding itself in hot water: as the commercial ends, there’s footage of an Audi driving with the voiceover stating: "An important decision must be made carefully." Viewers are then told to check out a website selling "Audi-approved" used cars. "Only with an official certification can you rest easy," the voiceover concludes. Chinese social media soon went ballistic. Many are now calling for a boycott of Audi, while others are demanding the automaker apologize. "I am a woman and I am disgusted. I’ll turn to Cadillac," one Weibo (a Chinese Twitter of sorts) user wrote.
Audi has since withdrawn the commercial and told The Washington Post it "deeply regrets" what was done. It’s now launching an investigation "of the internal control and coordination processes so that an incident like this can be excluded in the future." This is a big PR problem for Audi, which was one of the first luxury brands to set up shop in China nearly two decades ago. Quite honestly, Audi, especially its Chinese ad agency, should have known better than to air sexist material like this, especially at a time when its sales in China are dropping in the face of growing competition.