Ad of the Day: Audi

BBH taps one of nature's most highly engineered creatures for the new A6 Avant spot

Headshot of Tim Nudd

The hummingbird fascinates advertisers because it's a marvel of engineering. It's no surprise when the creature turns up in ads for cutting-edge technology. We saw this back in 2009 with the colorful Samsung hummingbird spot introducing the LED Series 7 as "a whole new species of television." Now, Audi spreads its wings and flies with the A6 Avant spot below, from BBH London, in which a metal hummingbird—complete with the distinctive Audi grill for a breast and LED-shaped eyes—flits nimbly around a surreal CGI world of trees, flowers, and fauna made from gas pumps, road signs, and traffic cones.

The point is that the A6 Avant was built with "Audi ultra-lightweight technology." Being birdlike, it is thus agile and efficient. The metaphor works OK, even if it's a little odd to use flying machines to symbolize driving ones. The fairy-tale world is pleasantly loopy, brought to life by Knucklehead director Daniel Barber (an Oscar nominee in 2008 for his short film The Tonto Woman) along with Tom Bussell at The Mill. The giant bumblebee trucks, in particular, are a nice touch.

But despite the bright colors in many scenes, the visuals are actually quite cold, and lend a feeling of aloofness, especially when paired with the operatic music—Johann Strauss's "Open Road, Open Sky," as sung by American baritone John Charles Thomas. Compare it to the folksy charm of Honda's "Grrr," with its glowing color palettes and whistling, sing-song music—and, yes, its pair of hummingbirds, which get the honor of closing out the spot.

"We wanted to show that the car was light, fuel efficient but maneuverable, and fun to drive," says Kevin Stark, creative director at BBH. They did an admirable job on all fronts—except it could be a little more fun.


Client: Audi

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London

Creative Team: Paul Yull, Adi Birkinshaw

Creative Directors: Nick Kidney, Kevin Stark

Producer: Ruben Mercadal

Team Manager: Polly Knowles

Team Director: Simon Coles

Production Company: Knucklehead

Director: Daniel Barber

Producer: Matthew Brown

Director of Photography: Stephen Blackman

Postproduction, Animation: The Mill, London

Lead 3-D Artist: Tom Bussell

Editor, Editing House: Adam Marshall @ The Whitehouse

Sound: Factory

Music Track: "Open Road, Open Sky" by John Charles Thomas 

Music Supervision: Finger Music & Sound Design

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.