Audi Quattro ‘Ahab’

If only more ads were as good as this. This American commercial for Audi Quattro is excellent. Based on a strong but simple idea, it draws inspiration from Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’, but here it is a Great White Car rather than a Whale that is pursued by a man obsessed with hooking the thing. (What is it with outstanding ads and the Great American Novel? – Guinness ‘Surfer’ also referenced ‘Moby Dick’)

Beautifully shot and edited, with an excellent script and performance, it’s near perfect. I like the X-files ambience, that has you wondering, with an understated tongue-in-cheek, exactly what this mysterious creature might be. Certainly as far as car ads go, it’s a winner. The car itself is central to the story and is neither forced into some flaky emotional brand concept, nor pushed to one side by creatives desperate to make a movie rather than an ad. That said the central character wouldn’t look wildly out of place if he cropped up in a Cohen Brothers film.

It’s also pleasing to see that there are no oh so conveniently empty winding roads waiting to be burned along by some smug looking chump behind the wheel. No, the car’s the star here. The one thing that jars a little is the tow truck driver’s anguished cry of ‘Quattro’ near the end, which smacks of last-minute client jitters about getting the car’s name in there. But I think like the Great White Car, the ad gets away with it.


Ad Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco
Art Director: Matt Miller
Copywriter: Matt Keats
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Produced by: Epoch Films
Director of photography: Jamin Conn
Assistant director: DK Johnston
Post production: The Mill, Los Angeles

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