Audi really, really hopes that you’ll buy its cars, but the German automaker is using its Super Bowl LI commercial to deliver a different kind of message, one that strikes at the heart of gender equality.
It opens with a sobering question: “What do I tell my daughter?” begins the male narrator. “Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma? That her dad is worth more than her mom?”
So much for the Super Bowl era of cuddly animals, people doing dumb-yet-hilarious things and guys getting hit in the crotch. This one hits hard at stats that show women earning, on average, 79 cents to the dollar that men do. How, the narrator wonders as his daughter wins a road race, will he tell her that “her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence” may not keep her from “being valued less than every man she ever meets.”
At the end, the narrator’s daughter wins and the two head off to their Audi…as the company reminds everyone that it is committed to equal pay with the tagline “Progress is for everyone.”
It’s a smart ad, given that women wield incredible influence in household purchases, and it was directed by a woman, Aoife McArdle.
“It goes without saying that we should be blind to gender and race,” McArdle said in a statement. “People’s merit can’t be predetermined on the purely superficial. It’s commendable that Audi is committed to implementing equality in the workplace. Hopefully other leading brands will follow suit.”
Judging by the run-up to Super Bowl LI, the message is resonating. It has been viewed more than five million times on YouTube, but it has been liked just more than 10,000 times, compared with more than 45,000 dislikes.
One YouTube user, JebBlack2010, wrote in the comments: “What do i tell my daughter? That there is this imaginary leftist/feminist wall keeping her from aspiring to be great? Maybe.”