Controversial Chinese Audi ad compares wives to used cars

Thursday, 20 Jul, 2017

Audi is learning that lesson after releasing an ad in the Chinese market that attempts to find humor in a groom's family inspecting his bride as though she's a used auto.

The second hand auto commercial shows a wedding interrupted by the mother of the groom who inspects the bride.

She has chosen this moment to inspect her future daughter-in-law's eyes, nose, ears and, oh, gums.

The ad compares buying a auto to finding a wife, saying "an important decision must be made carefully".

An animation in the same ad encourages viewers to visit a website selling "Audi-approved" secondhand cars. The final sequence of the ad includes a screen grab of used Audis for sale, with the narrator saying, "Only with official certification can you be rest assured".

Both Twitter and Chinese social media site Weibo blasted the commercial, with some calling for an apology or a boycott of Audi.

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Indeed, an spokesman at Audi headquarters told me: "AUDI AG deeply regrets the aforementioned TV spot of the used auto division of our joint venture in China".

Audi didn't immediately respond to an email, and Ogilvy China declined to comment.

Responding to the criticism, Audi said the advert was produced by the firm's Chinese joint-venture partner, FAW-Volkswagen Automotive.

"Most corporations do not have the concept of gender equality and neither do Chinese regulators", Li Maizi, a feminist activist, told CNN. One Youtube user suggested the public "demand a formal explanation and apology from Audi" for discriminating against women.

"If this ad compared a guy to a second hand vehicle, people would undoubtedly say its amusing and creative", she added. It is just the latest commercial to cause a backlash in China. Audi's sales dropped 12 percent in the first half of the year in China during a dispute with dealers.