Every potential bride needs a good inspection, just like a used car—at least, that’s what Audi says with this commercial for China. Branding, folks. Here’s what not to do.
If you somehow missed the tone there, this advertisement is so bad that it’ll make you want to crawl back into bed, close your eyes and hope for a less sexist tomorrow. It also gets worse every time you watch it. Here, give it a try:
This commercial aired in theaters and on television in China before Audi pulled it and apologized, according to Reuters. It’s a wonder how this made it further than an ignorant idea that prompted a “hur hur hur” moment at a roundtable and into an actual script, and from that into an actual commercial.
It’s also hilarious that the entire premise of the ad, sexist or not, kind of sucks. This mom, portrayed in the script as being in an obvious rush but still wanting to make sure her son was marrying a sufficient woman, inspected her physical appearance over the course of a few seconds before deeming her fit to be a wife.
But just like the saying goes, beauty—or, physical appearance, to not have a female connotation here—is only skin deep. You can do all of the walk-arounds of an Audi S4 your heart desires, but one of that will tell you about the problems on the inside, like the fact that the car’s engine could blow up on you at any possible moment or that you’ll get behind on mortgage payments simply by trying to fix the thing. Appearance is just one factor here.
No skin-deep inspection will tell you that Audi is a serial emissions cheater, either, and do you really want to be legally bound to anything—human or not—with bad emissions? There’s nothing quite like harmful exhaust slowly choking your planet, or like a foul stench chasing you out of your own living room.
So, in a painfully sexist ad that needed a public apology and to be withdrawn, Audi communicated a very important message to us all: Look, touch, but just don’t pry too deeply into what’s on the inside.