Ad of the Day: Clowning Audi turns to Sondheim in a circus of auto technologies

‘Send in the clowns’ demands Audi in its latest spot from BBH London, which juxtaposes the buffoonery of a circus troupe with the elegant technologies of the auto brand’s models.

Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, the ad follows a variety of harlequins as they navigate the roads with disastrous consequences to a reimagined version of Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim.

As the colourful gang speeds down hills in reverse and cuts up traffic in a lipstick-related rear view mirror incident, Audi’s cars employ their various technologies – such as cross traffic assist and pre sense city warnings – to avoid an accident at the hands of, well, a bunch of clowns.

The spot closes with the Audi A8 saloon stylishly parallel parking in between two circus jalopies as the line reads: ‘Audi Technology. Clown Proof’.

Viewers will be encouraged to Shazam the film’s song, which is performed by singer- songwriter Lisa Hannigan. Audi hopes to become known for re-recording iconic songs with up and coming artists for its campaigns through its advertising campaigns, and in this instance, Audi will donate to the charity Brake in support of Road Safety Week every time someone Shazams the song.

The campaign will go live during Victoria on ITV on 1 October and will be broadcast to viewers watching on ITV Plus at the same time. It will also be shown at the British Film Institute on London’s Southbank, while the outdoor execution will be powered to display different creative dependent on traffic, time and weather data at each roadside location.

Additionally, Google Doubleclick’s video programme, Unskippable Labs, will use Clowns as a test case to decipher the ‘perfect balance of efficiency and storytelling’ and understand how brands should best blend long-form storytelling with the shiny new six-second bumper formate.

Ian Heartfield, executive creative director at BBH, said: “We like to keep things simple with Audi – there are a lot of clowns on the road, and our cars have the technology needed to stay safe amongst them. Add Ringan, and fingers crossed we have a great, memorable, disruptive film on our hands."

Audi: Clowns by BBH London

Added 29 September 2017
Agency: BBH London
Overall Rating
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Katie Deighton

Katie Deighton is The Drum’s senior reporter - creative and video based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title’s editorial video output, including series such as On The Scene, Ad Breakers and Why I Left Advertising, and manages its coverage of the creative sector. She also reports on the intersection between politics and marketing, as well as the third sector and fashion.

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