It was game over in the first quarter. Not for the Super Bowl, but for the Ad Bowl.
Audi ran its "Commander" spot in the first quarter featuring a fictitious astronaut who gets a second shot at the moon piloting a new kind of rocket, an Audi R8 V10 Plus.
The ad is everything a Super Bowl spot should be: a great story we can all relate to, well-told, that actually makes us feel something.
The story of the ad is based on an evergreen plot: rebirth.
We open on some NASA-era ephemera and memorabilia. We hear our hero thank President Kennedy for "choosing the moon," the famous idea that captured the heart of the nation in the 1960's.
And then we find our hero. Alone, maudlin, lifeless in a bland old age home. There's something about this scene we can all relate to, a fate we are all loathe to see ourselves in.
But then, there is a ray of hope. The commander's son appears. He susses the scene and knows the very thing that will bring his father to life — a ride in his land rocket, the new Audi.
By the way, the car is gorgeous and make no mistake, beautifully shot. Unlike some other brands, the team here did the client justice with exceptional car photography.
The ride itself is a feast for the eyes thanks to a wonderful, energetic edit that juxtaposes iconic Apollo footage with images of the driving Audi experience. The old and new commander-to-driver sequence works great.
The coup de grace is, of course, the sound track. There is no doubt that the team would have to use our finest sonic chronicler of the space experience — David Bowie. But rather than choose the now-cliché "Space Oddity," (the very song the BBC used in 1969 upon heralding the landing of Apollo 11), the team chose a delightful surprise: Bowie's "Starman." A song with equal astro-subject matter and a rousing chorus.
A beautiful finishing touch was paying tribute to Mr. Bowie with the sign-off, "In memory of the Starman."
On a night where other brands struggled even to tell coherent stories and fumbled with their gags and gimmicks, this Audi ad was truly in another stratosphere.
Rob Schwartz is the CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.