In reality, though, the message comes off badly, at least according to hundreds of negative comments on the thread. The little girl is about to eat a banana, which some users have found objectionable, because these are the times we’re living in. More importantly, though, the girl is leaning against a car capable of a top speed of 174 mph (280 kph) and, for the majority of users, the combination of the two is unfathomable.
The last tweet at the bottom of the page best sums up criticism leveled against Audi for this apparently uninspired and in very bad taste ad: Audi is using a kid to sell a fast-speed car that kills kids. Or something along those lines.
Some hours after the photo was posted to social media, Audi issued a clarification and an apology. Among other things, the carmaker noted that the RS4 Avant was meant to protect even “the weakest traffic participants” like the girl in the photo, through “more than thirty driver assistance systems including an emergency break [sic] system.”
“Audi never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings,” the carmaker says. “We sincerely apologize 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.”
Somehow predictably, the apology is proving not enough for critics. They are now saying Audi should have pulled the ad altogether, in addition to issuing that apology, which, they claim, doesn’t even sound sincere in the first place. Call this a classic case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
We sincerely apologize 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. (3/3)— AudiOfficial (@AudiOfficial) August 3, 2020
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 break system. That’s why we showcased it with various family members for the campaign. (1/3)— AudiOfficial (@AudiOfficial) August 3, 2020
With a top speed of 174mph this car should be illegal based on how many kids it will likely kill through both speed and contributory pollution. Instead you want to sell this car USING A CHILD? Probably Audi's lowest moment— HRM Safe Cities for Everyone (@safe_hrm) August 2, 2020