Can A Bad Ad Provide Good Small Business Lessons?

Difficult choices of a businessman
A local Audi dealer’s ad blunder illustrates what not to do in advertising


audisOK, I give up. If it isn’t an Audi, what is it? A Beamer? A Benz? A Jag?

According to the Ad Age DataCenter, Audi spent $148.2 million on U.S. measured media in 2011, the last full year of available spending figures. The number represents an 80.4 percent boost in spending over 2010. Parent company Volkswagen spent $362 million on measured media and $729.6 million on total advertising and promotions at the time. And the 2012 total must have been even higher.

Despite all those advertising dollars Prestige Audi of Miami says nope, it isn’t an Audi.

This is the kind of advertising that, to be blunt, that doesn’t rise to the level of the brand or parent company.

Here’s why:

  • It appears lazy – really lazy. The “It’s not a ___ unless it is a ___ from ___” has been used as many times as the famous “You’ve tried the rest now try the best” that seems to be printed in every generic pizza box in the U.S.
  • The message to target (buyer) is demeaning. As a former Audi owner myself (Twin Turbo S4) I certainly familiar with an Audi is and what it is not, which brings me to my third point.
  • It ad offers the prospective buyer no benefit or reason to purchase a car from this dealer. There is nothing within this ad to follow the headline tag in terms of a payoff for the stated claim -“It’s not really an Audi…” – nothing. The lease payments represent the only call to action in the ad and part of a national campaign, which can be matched by any competing dealer.
  • It doesn’t leverage that dealer’s strongest asset: the Audi brand, which has a tremendous amount of advertising dollars behind it.