Last November, Audi selected 72andSunny Amsterdam to handle a global brand campaign redefining the luxury carmaker.
That campaign will kick off with a 60-second Super Bowl ad promoting the Audi e-tron Sportback, part of a new line of electric vehicles.
The ad features Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams singing the ubiquitous “Let It Go” anthem from Disney’s Frozen as she navigates traffic, when a radio announcer remarks on the historically hot weather in a passing reference to climate change, an issue the actress has been passionate about. Williams escapes the gridlock by turning down a side street and soon enough passersby of all sorts are singing along.
The ad concludes with the line, “Let’s drive to a more sustainable future,” while introducing “the fully electronic e-tron models from Audi.”
Audi’s brief to 72andSunny Amsterdam was to signal a brand shift at a time when company is making significant product changes as it moves to focus on electric vehicles, explained Rey Andrade, who was recently promoted to executive creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam.
“That energy was already there, that ambition was already there,” Andrade said, adding that the approach is meant to shift attitudes about Audi and spur a rethink of the modern luxury vehicle category with a new audience. “Redefining progress was the ask from the get-go.”
Williams and “Let It Go” both appeared in the first iteration of the script, the only time Andrade could recall an idea changing so little from first iteration to final pitch. That idea, which won 72andSunny Amsterdam the Audi pitch, will now come to life on advertising’s biggest stage.
“We really like ideas that feel like they allow everyone to join in on them a little bit and don’t feel too preachy,” Andrade said, adding, “There’s something about a music trope, and that song in particular” that still communicates a message while still being “a bit tongue-in-cheek, and you can laugh at it.”
And Williams, who he said played “one of the most badass characters” on the HBO fantasy saga, was the perfect fit.
“As an actor, she’s really bold, outspoken, grounded, a little cheeky, even when speaking out on issues she cares about,” he said. “It just felt right.”
Of course, nailing the vocal performance of “Let It Go” is no easy feat, and it really is Williams singing throughout the ad.
“It’s not an easy song to sing, but she put in the work,” Andrade said, working with a vocal coach from Day One until recording a few weeks ago at Abbey Road. “The improvement was insane.”
In addition to airing during the Super Bowl, the campaign will run globally across multiple channels, including broadcast, online and social elements.
“This work has a super playful tonality to it. It’s tongue-in-cheek. When we wrote it, we didn’t know they would want to put it on the Super Bowl,” Andrade said, explaining that the agency worked to bring the idea to fruition in under three months. The only hiccup along the way came in securing a visa for Williams, a process completed just a day before the shoot.
“It feels appropriate” as a Super Bowl ad, he said. “There’s a bit of spectacle to it.”
“I don’t think we’re going to rely on that all the time, massive spectacle,” he said. “We’re going to spend a bit of time [redefining] what progress is. Within the category, there’s a lot of outdated ideas about luxury and progress. We’re more interested in adding more substance to that conversation, being more honest about what progress is, about how people drive these days. If anything will be consistent, it will be us challenging old ideas of progress and luxury and trying to put them into a modern context, reflecting culture in a much more honest and authentic way, [being a] more inclusive voice.”
In other words, this is just the beginning of 72andSunny’s journey with Audi.