Audi apologises for insulting ad in China comparing women to used cars

Trending Audi Incites Anger with Controversial Ad that Compares Women to Used Cars Qin Qian

An Audi commercial that aired in movie halls and online in China is drawing ire for comparing women to used cars - another bump in the road for the German automaker, which once enjoyed almost limitless growth in the country.

The ad showed a man and a woman preparing to say their vows before the groom's mother interrupts the ceremony and begins "inspecting" the bride. The groom's mother runs up and begins inspecting the bride by pulling her nose, looking behind her ears, and inspecting her teeth.

While the vehicle is still on screen a male voice reportedly said in Mandarin, "an important decision must be made carefully".

In addition to demands for the ad to be taken down, there have been some calls to boycott Audi cars.

It's an ad from Ogilvy & Mather Beijing promoting used Audis that have been checked out and officially certified for resale. Words like "unacceptable" and "disgusting" were used.

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.

The company can ill afford this speed bump. Audi, owned by Volkswagen, has seen sales stall in China this year, despite a slight bounce back in June. The ad was surprising given that Audi has made campaigns tackling gender stereotypes a centerpiece in markets from Spain to the U.S. One social commenter contrasted the Chinese spot to Audi's messaging during the Super Bowl, about equal pay for women.

Not everyone is up in arms against Audi, however. It is just the latest commercial to cause a backlash in China.

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