A Depressed T-Rex and His Tiny Arms Find Relief in This Oddly Wonderful Audi Ad

Laughingstock no more

Headshot of Angela Natividad

"You think things are gonna stay the same, then one day, boom, 25 million hits in two days."

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is real. And we have ruined his life by teasing him, en masse and without shame, over his useless little arms. "I became a laughingstock," our friend laments. (To be fair, we thought he was extinct, but maybe that's a callous excuse.) "I lost the lust for life that I had. I just couldn't go out anymore." 

This unexpected heartbreaker of an ad goes on to explore the depths of T-Rex's debilitating depression. He stares dejectedly out the window and spends all his time in bed. Sports don't help, and basic homemaking is just too difficult. His pillows are covered in deep slashes, like the shredded portrait of the bereft prince in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. 

Then he discovers something that changes the game. "Magic is the feeling I had. It was absolute magic. It completed me … and I really got that sense of, I'm back."

This marks the debut ad for Audi's Piloted Driving feature. Created by Razorfish, it was directed by Stephan Wever of Stink, with Germany-based Sehsucht managing VFX.

"The biggest challenge was to make the dinosaur look depressed," explains VFX head Florian Zachau of Sehsucht. "A T-Rex is a rather stiff character, and there is not a lot of variety on expression and gestures the animators could use in order to bring out the sadness. The interview scene in particular was not easy. There is a very thin line between making it look natural rather than awkward."

That quote almost sounds like the stuff of parody, even if we can tell that Zachau is dead serious. All said, they did a bang-up job. That scene where he just lies across the pillow and closes his eyes…? Masterful. It hurt deep inside our most hidden soul parts. 

There's some trepidation about self-driving cars. They're the inevitable first step to mass-produced driverless vehicles, which are apparently going to steal millions of jobs. And last June, a Tesla Model S on autopilot was involved in a crash that killed its driver.

But the humor with which Audi approaches the topic cuts the tension—and weirdly, makes the subject feel more human. We love that technology's relentless forward momentum—which some believe will cause our own impending extinction event—is just the kick that a long-dead predator needs to make an emotional comeback.

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@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.