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Pay-To-Play Pothole Mitigation?

September 19th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Audi, in marketing a car that only the top few percent of Americans can afford, has focused on the mediocre situation of the nation’s infrastructure.

The road is not exactly a place of intelligence. You read about it. You hear about it in the news. You witness it every day on your commute. Which is exactly why Audi engineered the highly intelligent new Audi A6 – built to combat whatever “genius-ness” the road throws its way. These spots shed some light on the current state of our unintelligent roads and drivers, offering up a solution in the new A6 – a technologically advanced car that makes 2000 decisions every second.

As Audi put it in their press release on the new campaign,

The ads will call attention to jarring facts about today’s driver, as well as the obstacles presented by today’s American road. More importantly, the ads showcase the ability of the Audi A6 to help overcome these obstacles while enhancing driver safety and enjoyment.

Shockingly, 38 million drivers on the road today would not pass their state’s driver’s exam(i), and across the nation, drivers encounter over 100,000 miles of crumbling highways and bridges(ii)

Is Audi speaking to the portion of America who is enamoured with gated communities, ready to pay for their own comfort and security but uncomfortable with (hating the concept of) paying their fair share for the common good?

Places like Haiti take this to an extreme.  Living within one’s walls, with guards, life might be fantastic with perfectly paved streets and 24/7 electricity. Cross the wall and the children might be without clothing and the potholes could absorb a normal car … there you don’t need Audis but Range Rovers. Are those Audi is targeting this advertisement at aiming for an American future resembling Haiti?

Audi is, clearly, aiming for ‘buzz’ about how their cars handle traffic and disrupted roads better than their competitors. They may — or may not — be right. The question for all of us (all of the U.S.) is whether the best solution to our common problems derives from the wealthiest few spending dollars to ease their own lives or whether we all give of our means to make all of our lives better and the overall society stronger.  Rather than investing $10,000s more in a car that can handle potholed roads, perhaps it would be better for those who have the ability to do so to consider paying a few $1000s to help build up and maintain the crumbling infrastructure? 

NOTE: On another Audi advertisement, see The Most Environmentally Unfriendly Super Bowl Ad?

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Tags: advertising · automobiles · Energy

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Sep 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Did you see this piece of the campaign? See Click Flix

    Seems like this was there way of looking to help all of us by sponsoring a tool that actually makes the roads better.

    Yes, Dan, I did see it. And, Dan, this site (which you evidently work for; why not be directly explicit about that in comments) requires users to provide their contact information (presumably to an Audi database). I looked at over ten complaints/complaints to see what they were about (before, by the way, writing this post) and found them to be mainly whining. I liked, for example, this one from McLean, Virginia:

    On 5/31/11, I made a left turn from Rt 123 onto Lewisville Rd but got stopped in the intersection because the light at Lewisville and Balls Hill is not long enough to allow the intersection at Rt 123 and Lewisville to pass through it. Officer A. Sapunart (ein: 3460 org: 213) issued me a warning about “blocking the box”. He said that I got a warning because he had run out of tickets and that police enforcement will be vigilant at this intersection into the future. He also stated, that the Police Dept located at that intersection has contacted VDOT to fix the light timing, but that VDOT denies there is a problem. Apparently, the police have decided that this is a good source of revenue, and allows them to stop and question more citizens. The officer voluntarily informed me that the police keep each ticket and warning on file for some years so that in any subsequent stop, that officer will know you were previously stopped.

    Does this seem more about the intersection problem or a complaint about getting a warning for an illegal action that caused traffic disruption and disrupted others?

    In other words, prior to writing this post, I had looked through the Audi material and, well, found it wanting.


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