Audi: Worst Christmas Commercial Ever?

The annoying Christmas commercials began way too early this year, and repeated viewings have already blurred their edges, but there is one commercial in particular that fries my beans every time it comes on — the Audi commercial featuring baby-boomer parents making their opulent house ready for a visit from their grown son. The mother is dressing the table; the father is hanging the son’s stocking on the mantel. And when the son pulls up to the house…they don’t even greet him; they rush out the back door and jump in his car to take a ride.

The son is left calling after them, and they’re giggling and reassuring themselves that “he’ll be alright,” while they indulge their need for an immediate gratification that is exclusionary.

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Aside from the fact that the commercial runs counter everything “the holidays” are supposed to be about (reconnecting with family, home, hearth, warmth, love, etc) the thing is a perfectly drawn caricature of the baby boomer generation: superficial, self-concerned and materialistic.

I am not on an anti-boomer jag. All baby-boomers do not fit that narrative, of course. But caricatures do have some basis in fact.

I actually doubt the Audi folk were going for a boomer-critique, here. Perhaps their intention was to critique successful capitalists. Or perhaps they weren’t intending to make a criticism at all, and the writers just thought this was funny — invite the kid home because you can’t wait to use his car?

I have never gotten the joke — didn’t find it funny on the first viewing and am less amused each time it comes on the air.

What about you? What Christmas commercial is completely under your skin, this year?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Linda

    I think all Christmas commercials are pointless.

  • Mark L

    Need to strap the creators of that ad into ladderback chairs and force them to listen to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” endlessly looping.

    (I know — cruel and unusual punishment.)

  • Ann

    Clearly you don’t drive an Audi or you would understand. If my kid came home with the new A6 I might want to take it for a drive in the snow as well.

    I kid I kid.

    It’s kind of a silly commercial, but not offensive.

    [Yes, possibly part of the problem is cars mean nothing to me. I like them to go when I want to go and stop when I want to start and -- if at all possible -- be red. Beyond that, an Audi or a Chevy, it's all brrrm-brrrm to me! :-) admin]

  • dry valleys

    I don’t have a TV, I visit my mother if I hear about something really good being on but that hardly ever happens. So I haven’t seen any adverts myself, but there are some that have been aired that sound worse than this Audi advert.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/20/christmas-adverts-john-lewis

    (Please note the date on this- remarkable!)

    I like Christmas because I always work more hours in November and December and it’s good to celebrate going into a less frantic pace. And you have only to look outside your window, snow/rain every day and dark already, to see why it’s not just in Christianity that there’s a midwinter eruption, but also in Judaism, Islam, the old Yuletide, and every culture I can think of that has sharply defined seasons, with this one being the grimmest. :)

    There was some good commentary on these adverts but I’m afraid I can’t find it now!

    [that commercial is too long (and no, it doesn't make me cry) but as a mom, I DO recall how excited my kids would be to give others presents. So I don't mind it much! :-) -admin]

  • dry valleys

    And despite the above, the commercialism is fairly obscene. But then I would say that!

  • Jenny

    I hate the Best Buy ad with the snarky woman being mean to Santa Claus. It is the epitome of why the ‘Black Friday’ stampedes happen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qeg6Z4jhZWY&feature=relmfu

  • Erin

    The ones that get on my nerves the most are when they change the words to classic Christmas songs to promote the product. It bothers me because I worry it could ruin a perfectly good song. The worst this year is for TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc where they tell shoppers to leave the mall for better prices to the tune of “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. I think they had a similar commercial last year with a different song.

  • MikeTheGeek

    There’s one running locally in Austin, and – I assume – other cities with HEB food stores. The ad consists of a children’s Christmas pageant, exclusively based on Christmas – as – food – and – presents, with the slogan, “More kringle for less jingle.” It’s not intrinsically worse than a lot of other commercials, but I find it particularly grating. I suspect it combines my disgust at the modern school system with the shallowness and vapidity that is the new American ideal – and the fact that Howard Butts, who founded HEB, was a very strong Christian and would probably cringe at the presentation of “the holiday that must not be named” being made in his name.

  • Debbie

    The Kohl’s black Friday ad this year was the worst.

  • daisy

    Oh it wasn’t that bad. My goodness does being Catholic mean we must have a humordectomy? Do we really want to be Witchfinder Generals? I thought it was funny and yes, driving an Audi through snowy roads is fun.

  • Gail Finke

    The Best Buy commercials in which the mothers leave Santa nothing to do and taunt him about it (what? you WOULDNT want Santa to bring presents and not buy them?) and all the phone commercials that show people taking embarrassing videos of their friends and posting them to Facebook. A product made exclusively for nasty people??? Oh yes, and the smug people who sing about not shopping at the mall while they’re in one. What is with these commercials starring nasty, smug, insufferable people?

    There are some local commercials starring Nick Lachey for Cincinnati Bell that I do like. The idea is that you should buy phones and slow down. They show people using cannons to decorate their trees and tossing giant decorations into the yard because they’re in a hurry. I like them because the hurried people look like they are still happy.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, another good reason to boycott television altogether.

    If you don’t watch it, you won’t have to suffer the idiot ads. (Not to mention the horrid Christmas specials: “The Santa Claus”, “Jack Frost”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”—and let us not forget Rankin Bass, and their truly weird takes on theology!)

  • Kdaunt

    I agree with Jenny and Gail. That Best Buy commercial rubs me wrong. Taunting Santa? Really? One of the most kind and big hearted fictional characters ever and we’re supposed to be motivated to humiliate him? What’s the point? Do they want us to buy stuff or do they want to run a smear campaign against Christmas?

  • Will

    I am voting with Jenny and Gail for (or against?) the Best Buy commercial.

  • dry valleys

    Not to mention, if you don’t have a TV or your viewing is very limited (and it’s worth noting that the BBC has no adverts), you won’t escape them. I was in a supermarket and I saw the “seasonal” aisle being turned from Halloween to Christmas without a pause. Shouldn’t a seasonal aisle be for locally grown produce that’s good at a particular time of year? Apparently not!

  • http://americandigest.org vanderleun

    Heck, the subtext is that they bought the car for him.

  • http://www.professorwhimsey.com victor

    I actually didn’t mind the Kohls “Friiii-day!” ad, but I really hope Rebecca Black got some money from it.

    The one that annoys me most is T-Mobile’s “Orgy Wonderland” commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcYWGwQu2WI

    And the one that I totally do not get is the Mr. Coffee Single Serve Coffee Maker commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w51HkNhnEfM). Who is Stanley? Why is he making coffee for all those different women? Is that his job, to just brew single-serve coffee? Only for the women of the office? Why doesn’t he speak? What is his deal? I can’t for the life of me figure it out.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    (((Who is Stanley? Why is he making coffee for all those different women? Is that his job, to just brew single-serve coffee? Only for the women of the office? Why doesn’t he speak? What is his deal? I can’t for the life of me figure it out.)))

    Hey victor! Really, what’s your take on “IT”? :)

    Peace

  • jkm

    I too thought T-Mobil was advertising an Orgy Wonderland. Turns out it’s 4G. But they are definitely not enunciating. :)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Kdaunt, sometimes I do think yes, they are trying to run a smear campaign against Christmas.

    All disguised as innocent advertising, of course.

    Whatever their motive, the ads really are awful. (And don’t even get me started on the Christmas “specials”. I mean, how many times are we supposed to watch “The Santa Clause II” over the course of December?)

  • RigelDog

    The worst one this year is this Chevy ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hvuKw28RK8

    Look at how bizarre and wan the colors (and complexions!) are. I have no idea why they would want to make a “festive” holiday commercial that looks like my worst memories of sad 60′s/70′s Christmases. It may be a trend; there is another ad I’ve seen for the holidays (notChevy I can’t remember the product) that uses this same drained oatmeal-and-bile color scheme.

  • Donna G

    I don’t watch TV, but I did see a big ad at a cosmetics counter in a department store that said “unwrap joy”. As if!

  • http://www.patheos.com Cathy Barber

    Anchoress,
    I so totally agree! I’ve been snarling at this Audi commercial and thinking how very pathetic it was. So glad you wrote this!!

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    Listen guys! I’ve been talking to some of the alien gods who have hired me and go figure, they said that they’ve had their eyes on me for quiet a while NOW and think that honesty is the best policy so long story short folks if there’s any body out there you know that still has a soul, “IT” can be traded for one of these commercials and you get to keep all the profit that “IT” brings in so drop U>S a line preferably a live one like Aline who is married to a great Christian if you get my drift?

    That will be enough out of you sinner vic cause me, myself and i don’t care how many Pro tones Mass your alien friends can split UP nowadays, I’m not going to party with you and besides there’s no way that The Spiritual reality Anchoress is going to let you Hi Jack this post of hers. :)

    I hear ya sinner vic! Victor, Victor, Victor! They are called (Protons) and if you can’t say “IT” right don’t say “IT” at all! :(

    Peace

  • KyPerson

    I don’t like any of the Best Buy commercials. They are mean and silly to boot. Actually, I don’t like any of the Christmas TV programs very much (with the exception of Charlie Brown). I just finished listening to Jim Dale read A Christmas Carol, and loved it. Best Christmas story ever.

    It seems as though every store I go into has Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on the speaker. I hate that song. The tune clashes with the words and it ends up being sad.

    Bah humbug.

  • Tricia S

    Agree with you, Anchoress, on this ad, and the Best Buy ones people have mentioned as well. Remember that retailers wanted to make Christmas commercials that moved you? The old Hallmark card ads; the coffee ad with the adult/college son making it home early in the morning, being greeted by his young sister, and then making coffee for his folks who wake up to see him in deolighted surprise; the year of the tearjerker AT&T ads; *sigh* if I have to see commercials, at least let them be like that!

  • TXRed

    The one Christmas commercial that I really recall and that moves me to tears just thinking about was one that GE ran in December 1989. It showed the Berlin Wall coming down, the people ringing their keys in Wenceslaus Square in Prague, ballet dancers on a stage and other images from the news, as lights came on in the different scenes. The music was Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” The voice-over at the end reminded watchers to celebrate lights coming on all over the world – i.e. the fall of the Iron Curtain. It never aired after New Years and is not available on YouTube, as far as I’ve ever been able to find.

    None of the current batch appeal to me, although there are some that grate worse than others.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    Hey Anchoress! You owe me cause I talked both sinner vic and Victor into taking the (MBTI) test in order to keep them from trying to Hi Jack this post. Hey I actually got you more time than I had planned cause they want me to take the test with them also but I’ve told them that me, myself and i must go and see our grand daughter perform at her high school.

    I hear ya! Enough already Victor and tell your imaginary friends to stop “IT” also! :)

    Peace


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