Audi advert criticised for being sexist over campaign comparing women to used cars

German manufacturer faces backlash after releasing an advert in China comparing finding a car to finding a wife

Shafi Musaddique
Wednesday 19 July 2017 13:31
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Audi advert compares women to used cars

German car brand Audi is facing fierce backlash on social media over an advert aired in China that is being accused of objectifying women.

The advert compares finding a car to finding the perfect wife. It shows a couple at the altar, seemingly about to tie the knot, before an apparently concerned future mother-in-law interrupts proceedings to inspect the bride’s body. The older woman is shown pinching the younger woman’s nose and ears and scrutinising her teeth while an exasperated groom and priest look on. She then takes a last look at the bride’s chest before a caption declares: “an important decision must be made carefully”.

An Audi car is then seen at the end of the advert.

Comments online describe the commercial as “outrageous”. One Youtube user suggested the public “demand a formal explanation and apology from Audi” for discriminating against women.

Other commentators suggest the advert may reflect cultural norms.

A statement made from parent company Audi AG expressed regret, saying the advert “does not correspond to the values of our company in any way”. Made exclusively for the Chinese market, Audi confirmed that the commercial has now been completely withdrawn.

China is no stranger to controversial adverts. A Chinese detergent company apologised last year for its “racist” advert showing a black man being “washed” before his transformation into a lighter skinned Asian man. Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics expressed regret, but shifted some of the blame onto the media for “over-amplifying the advert”.

Advertisements in the UK are set to become subject to stringent rules, following recent outrage over a series of controversial ads. A FemFresh television ad displaying women wearing swimwear and close up shots deemed to be objectifying.

The Advertising Standards Authority earlier this week announced a crackdown on adverts displaying stereotypical gender roles or discriminating against a particular gender type.

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