German luxury car maker moved quickly to quell outrage, especially in China, with an apology on Thursday for a heavily-criticized commercial it released in theaters and on online platforms in China which compares women to used cars.
In a statement issued on its official account on WeChat, a Chinese instant messaging service, the German luxury car maker said it sincerely accepts the criticism and suggestions of the public, and announced an immediate retraction of the advertisement.
“It is the lacking of thorough consideration in creativity and details that led to the content (of the ad) making the public hold the opinion it is saxist and demeaning to females,” explained Audi, which also vowed to serve customers with a more prudent attitude.
Audi’s announcement on Chinese social media came after an earlier apology by the automaker in a statement, in which it said it “deeply regrets” the ad, which it noted was conceived by the used cars division of its joint venture in China and targeted only to the Chinese market.
The controversial commercial depicts a bridegroom’s mother inspecting the bride-to-be’s physical appearance during her wedding ceremony. She aggressively pinches the bride’s nose, ears and lips, before making an “okay” gesture signaling her satisfaction with the examination.
But the checkup does not come to an end until the mother gazes at the bride’s chest, to the latter’s embarrassment.
“An important decision must be made carefully,” a voice then announces as the scene changes to an Audi sedan driving on a highway.
The ad also triggered backlash in China as netizens saw it as a distortion of Chinese marriage and the relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law.