German carmaker Audi has been forced to pull its latest campaign and issue the usual round of apologies after a rather tone-deaf launch over the weekend.
On Saturday, the carmaker shared an ad for its snazzy looking Audi RS4 with the caption “Lets your heart beat faster – in every aspect”.
The ad featured a young girl, holding a banana leaning against the car’s front grill.
And, you don’t need to be a genius to understand why the campaign was soon flooded with complaints about child safety. Some even complaining about the “phallic” symbol in the girl’s hand.
Check out the offending work below:
And the complaints soon flooded in.
“Nice that you show how children can easily be killed by your cars. You can’t even see them out of the car,” one person wrote.
“Are you crazy?” another Twitter user asked. “Is this advertising to kill children?”
Another added: “That’s just shameful. You can do better! Get a few women and mothers into the team and the leadership team. They can then tell you what’s wrong with the motif.”
By Monday, Audi’s PR team was in full apology mode.
In a tweet, the carmaker said: “We hear you and let’s get this straight: We care for children. The Audi RS 4 is a family car with more than thirty driver assistance systems including an emergency brake system. That’s why we showcased it with various family members for the campaign,” the carmaker tweeted.
“We hoped we could convey these messages, showing that even for the weakest traffic participants it is possible to relaxingly lean on the RS technology. That was a mistake! Audi never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings.
“We sincerely apologise for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future. We will also immediately examine internally, how this campaign has been created and if control mechanisms failed in this case,” it added.
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