BBH's "Clowns" for Audi drives off with Thinkboxes Award
In the ad, BBH London brings to life the notion that there are lots of "clowns” on the roads by showing classic circus clowns in full slapstick make-up doing chronically stupid things in gaily-painted clown cars - with potentially calamitous outcomes for other drivers. In an Audi, though, drivers are always just that little bit safer; its sensors and braking systems will help protect them from the dangerous antics of thoughtless road-users.
“We wanted to convey a serious message about Audi’s cutting-edge road-safety technologies in a bright, witty and engaging way,” explains Audi UK Marketing Director Benjamin Braun. “It was the latest in a series of themed campaigns, which pressed home the message that our cars are not just beautiful – they have amazing brains, too.”
Although Send in the Clowns was an early choice of track for obvious reasons, it is also a continuation of Audi’s recent theme of repurposing classics with modern talent. “The moving soundtrack provided a perfect counterpoint to the antics of the clowns,” Braun says. “There is a certain kind of song that has become synonymous with Audi now. When we get it right it lifts the film to another level.”
The music also enabled the team to build in an interesting mechanic which underlined Audi’s commitment to improving road safety: anyone interested in the music was invited to Shazam it and download the track, with Audi making a contribution to road-safety charity Brake for each Shazam use.
Shot in Prague at the end of August, the commercial features a cross-section of actors and actresses, some of whom had been to ‘clown school’. It then launched across high-impact TV and cinema spots to deliver maximum reach, delivering an initial 30 million key audience impacts.
- Agency: BBH London
- Creatives: Ian Heartfield, Doug Fridland, Mikael Alcock
- Client: Kelly Palmer
- Production Company: Rattling Stick
- Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Audi stands out from the crowd, and research proves our campaigns are successful. We are right to strive for originality
Benjamin Braun Marketing Director, Audi UK
TV is still the quickest way to get a brand talked about. The difference is it is harder to get noticed now. That means our ads need to be better
Ian Heartfield ECD, BBH London
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A view from the Academy
Clowns is a brilliant insight, simply but beautifully realised: it's a commercial we can all learn from.
Laurence Green Founding Partner, 101