Audi's On Demand Service Will Make Uber Riders Look Like Robots

Talk about one-percenting it up

We move around the world like robots. Yeah, yeah, we're hearing this story a lot lately. But if an online banking service—or, hell, really friendly insurance—aren't quite the release your inner eagle seeks, maybe Audi's got a solution: an on-demand car delivery service.

Remember when Uber was the ultimate in convenience, availing private drivers to the slightly-chicer-than-unwashed masses? Audi's Premium Mobility Service is just as accommodating, but the lifestyle messaging ups the ante: Why bother with a private driver when I myself can take the wheel in a luxury car I can swap out whenever, like a Citibike? 

This big-ticket take on services like Bag Borrow or Steal is punted under a series of ads taglined, "Own the experience. Not the car."

Audi on demand - Own the Experience. Not the Car

Take control. Escape obligations! Deliver the unpredictable. The work is brought to you by Hamburg, Germany-based Überground and produced in South Africa by Chehad Abdallah, with campaign photography by Kate Bellm, who specializes in fashion shoots.

The service lets you select which model of car you want. Then it shows up at your doorstep, decked with WiFi, satellite radio and free accessories. (Never again will we settle for the mediocre and extortionate ministrations of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which charges fifty goddamn dollars for commodified goods like GPS.) 

The most compelling image in the video above is of a woman in a silk pantsuit who gets on a table and starts walking across it—to the chagrin of all diners seated—without looking up from her phone (where she's scrolling for her vehicle of choice). 

Not sure if that's the best message to send; it feels a little entitled, but whatever. By the time she gets to the door on the other side, a sexy car is waiting, and that's all that matters. 

This is the longest video in the set. The campaign draws from one lengthy strip of "Smart Movie" footage to tell three different stories, based on what's most appropriate for any given market. For example, here's the "Business" ad, which positions Audi's on-demand service as an ideal way to escape meeting-room blues. 

"Remember, buddy: Business is not done in conference rooms," a narrator proclaims to the vision of a man leaping over file caddies and enthusiastically shaking hands under the reflected halo of a car that isn't his. Looks like he also found time for fishing and gourmet dining, which we didn't realize are things a person does on the same day. 

But OK, we don't know this guy.

Audi on demand - Business

Meanwhile, in "Weekends," a woman flees the hazards of a lively fair to spend "the mother of all Sundays" with a dude, freewheeling to deserts and lakes alike.

A car with a bike rack? No problem! Even the trees rack bikes in this fantasy land.

Audi on demand - Weekends

"Downtown" is for the urbanite, and notably features the woman walking across a table, glasses cracking under her yellow heels. She's ruined one party, and started another—on wheels!

Audi on demand - Downtown

"Through a stream of consciousness, we tell one or more stories that differ by market, target group and goal of the marketing," says Jo Marie Farwick, founder and creative at Überground. "This is super-convenient for our international client; it's a long-term performing toolbox that makes it totally easy for different markets to adapt without diluting the communication."

It's true the campaign's modular approach is clever, protecting the creative while providing flexibility. But there's something irrepressibly silly about these ads, whose emotional volume is dialed up just a notch too high to feel credible.

That's a shame, because the value ad is real: On-demand luxury car delivery sure beats waiting four hours to rent a beat-down Corolla. Would I use it to visit the nearest Ikea? Probably not, but maybe I would on a long, luxe weekend with friends. 

And if the price is right (and the city not too miserably dense), maybe I would take a client for a whimsical afternoon spin, fishing and whatnot.

Pricing remains vague, but Audi promises its model is "fair" and "transparent," pay-per-use with fuel at market price. Users can also be billed by the hour, day or week, with insurance and free mileage included.

Idea, Concept & Creative Direction: Überground GmbH, Hamburg
Client: Audi Business Innovation GmbH
Product: Audi on demand
Head of Product Development and Customer Experience: Swantje Kowarsch
Global Brand Marketing: Florian Drahorad
Communication & PR: Katja Henning
Creative Direction: Jo Marie Farwick
Text: Jo Marie Farwick, Anna Pramila Meissner, Fred Schreitmüller
Art Direction: Kathi Walter, Stefanie Zimmermann
Agency Producer: Danilo Klöfer
PM: Heike Vollmeier
Filmproduction: EASYdoesit GmbH
Director: Chehad Abdallah
DOP: Jan Prahl
Executive Producer: Sebastian von Gumpert
1st AD & Producer: Konstantin Nerger
Production Assistant: Marie Zeller
Service Production: First Productions
Art Director: Laurence Bishop
Styling: Crystal Birch
Hair & Makeup: Inga Hewitt
Music: Nikolai von Sallwitz
Voice-Over: Marie Biermann, Oliver Groos, Brian Fentress
Sound Design: Valentin Hansen
Editor: : Kolja Frase, Farid Martin
Postproduction: Arri Mitte
Campaign Photography: Kate Bellm
Postproduction Motive: POP Postproduction GmbH

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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