After a social media outcry, Audi has pulled an ad showing a little girl eating a banana while leaning on a car. Those objecting remarked on everything from her pose to the ‘phallic’ fruit. Others pronounced it perfectly innocent.
The German car company publicly retracted the ad on Monday, after an outbreak of pearl-clutching online, issuing a groveling apology on Twitter and promising to get to the bottom of “how this campaign has been created and if control mechanisms failed.”
We hoped we could convey these messages, showing that even for the weakest traffic participants it is possible to relaxingly lean on the RS technology. That was a mistake! Audi never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. (2/3)
— AudiOfficial (@AudiOfficial) August 3, 2020
“We hear you, and let’s get this straight: we care for children,” Audi tweeted, adding that it “sincerely apologize[d] for this insensitive image.”
The advert featured a little girl in sunglasses, denim jacket, and print dress holding a partially peeled banana while leaning against the grille of a red Audi sports car. It was tagged with the slogan “Lets your heart beat faster – in every aspect.”
The child’s stance appeared to gently mock the ubiquitous ‘cool-dude’ photos of shades-sporting men and their roadsters. The ad was part of a campaign showing various members of a family posing with the same red car.
However, with humor having been beaten within an inch of its life by the wokeness pandemic, many on social media saw the ad as promoting child endangerment: a driver in the car wouldn’t be able to see the pint-sized girl, so might run her over (no matter that the vehicle is clearly parked), to say nothing of the environmental irresponsibility of advertising a – horror of horrors! – gas-powered vehicle in the first place.
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
This is a frightening image giving testimony to the fact that such enormous speed machines are a danger to our children and societies and do not belong on city streets with kids around. Makes my stomach turn just looking at it.
— Kadri Soova (@KadriSoova) August 3, 2020
Many accused Audi of promoting pedophilia.
“I see a pedophile ad here. And child abuse,” diagnosed one German poster, calling the ad “disgusting and reprehensible.”
Let’s add it up: Red=eroticism, sports car=substitute for potency, animal print mini-skirt=sex appeal, banana=phallic symbol. But sure this is all just accidental..https://t.co/fwPAn3mE43
— Bobby Gill ☆ 【ツ】 (@bobbygill) August 4, 2020
Others agreed, likening the girl pictured to the “half-naked women posed on the hood” of sportscars past and even implying that ads featuring fully clothed young women posing with sportscars were somehow nefarious.
But others defended Audi, pointing out that there was nothing overtly sexual about the ad, and proposed that those who saw it as suggestive “seek help and stay away from children.”
Audi did nothing wrong. The world is just sick. You pedophiles ruined the ad by sexualizing a small girl eating banana ! Smh https://t.co/J1wueA9xY5
— Billy 👌🏽 (@sirkenayo_hrm) August 4, 2020
“People creating imaginary problems to solve because they’re so mentally and emotionally stunted, they can’t handle real ones,” another user opined.
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