Audi Commercial in China Compares Women to Used Cars

Posted July 20, 2017

Following sweeping backlash from the Chinese public and domestic and worldwide media, Audi China has withdrawn an offensive commercial that compares women to cows and used cars.

The commercial depicted a groom's mother inspecting the bride's physical appearance during a wedding ceremony.

After yanking the bride's nose and ears, and prying open her jaw to inspect her teeth, the mom appears satisfied and gives the couple the okay.

The scene then changes to a red Audi sedan driving through an empty highway, with a man's voice says, "An important decision must be made carefully".

The ad was surprising coming from Audi, given that other Audi ads have attempted to tackle gender stereotypes, and the automaker even addressed equal pay for women during its Super Bowl ad. 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". Words like "unacceptable" and "disgusting" were used.

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Speaking to the South China Morning Post, an Audi spokesman said that the matter is now under investigation, and that Audi's marketing campaign in China was the responsibility of its local joint venture partner.

There has been so much backlash to the commercial in China that a page has been dedicated to it on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

The company can ill afford this speed bump.

Viewers are then encouraged to visit Audi's second hand vehicle sales website. Audi, owned by Volkswagen, has seen sales stall in China this year, despite a slight bounce back in June.

"I will not buy an Audi in this lifetime", one user said, and another called it "disastrous marketing".