"The Audi A6: Pay-To-Play Pothole Mitigation"
Our guest blogger is A. Siegel, from Get Energy Smart Now.
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 in a new ad campaign:
The road is not exactly a place of intelligence. Highway maintenance is underfunded, costing drivers 67 billion a year, and countless tires. Which drivers never check, because they’re busy checking email. This is why we engineered a 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, and across the nation, drivers encounter over 100,000 miles of crumbling highways and bridges.
Is Audi speaking to the portion of America who is enamored 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 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 $1,000s to help build up and maintain the crumbling infrastructure?