Audi just recently dropped the axe on its latest photo advert due to the significant backlash it has received from social media. The said ad features a young girl in a print dress with sunglasses eating a half-peeled banana while leaning against the grille of a red car. The photo ad did not sit well with social media followers who had different interpretations of the image and its accompanying caption.
The German car maker posted the image of a red RS 4 Avant on Twitter with a caption that read: "Lets your heart beat faster – in every aspect."
A good number of Twitter users were quick on the draw to post comments on the matter of the girl's position in front of the car. This they say would not allow full visibility for the driver to see the child in front of the hood. The car model is being marketed as a high performance sports car with the functionality of a family vehicle which they say seems contradictory to this image.
One of the Twitter posts said : "Nice that you show how children can easily be killed by your cars. You can't even see them out of the car."
On the other hand, some complained about the use of a young girl holding a banana. They pointed out how this was too much of a phallic symbol to be used . They also mentioned that the caption was sexually suggestive and "disturbing on several levels."
Shiri@home tweeted, "Little girl with phallic symbol in hand. Sure, great." DjBeeTee commented, "Right. Let's add them up: red = erotic, sports car = replacement of potency, animal print mini dress = sex appeal, banana = phallic symbol. But everything is just a coincidence..."
Audi later apologised and said they are withdrawing the "insensitive" ad considering criticism of it being "provocative" and dangerous.
"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. We sincerely apologise for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future. "
This is not the first time the German car maker landed in hot water for its adverts. Volkswagen, which also owns Audi, had to withdraw an earlier car advert launched this year which had shown a white power gesture and racial slur. The company apologised saying it was "horrified" by its own "tasteless" ad campaign.