Auburn Hills, Michigan - Audi accomplished the unimaginable in 1986 when rally race car driver Harald Demuth drove an Audi 100 CS quattro up to the top of the Pitkavouri ski jump in Kaipola, Finland. This amazing feat was filmed for what became a legendary commercial for the Audi brand throughout Europe. To mark the “25 years of quattro” anniversary in 2005, Audi has done it again. Audi engineer Uwe Bleck piloted an A6 4.2 quattro up the same ski jump some 19 years after the original version.
This current day interpretation of the classic commercial will start to air in the U.S. the week of November 7th, and will cap the dynamic “25 years of quattro” advertising campaign that started in September. A print version of the ski jump commercial will parallel the television ad nationwide.
The A6 was driven up the snowy ski jump with an angle of 37.5 degrees, or about an 80 percent gradient. The entire drivetrain of the A6 was completely unmodified. As if that is not impressive enough, the only change to the A6 was the use of studded tires. Just to prove that this wasn’t a one-time event, Uwe Bleck drove the A6 up the ramp eleven times with an average speed of 37 miles per hour. Obviously, the A6 had no problem tackling the ramp.
The Pitkavouri ski jump, located about 185 miles north of Helsinki, had not been used since 1994. Since the remake of the 1986 commercial was to be a modern rendition, Audi thought it was imperative to use the same jump. It took three weeks to repair the Pitkavouri ski jump before the new commercial could be filmed. “Safety first” was the underlying principle for the entire project. The ski jump had to be rendered safe before the commercial could be shot.
“Safety first” also applied to the A6 itself. A roll-back safety device was installed underneath the A6 to prevent it from sliding down the ramp. A steel base plate was installed to the underbody of the A6. This base plate was attached to a cable mechanism at the top of the ramp. If the car started to move backwards, the cable would be locked, preventing the car from sliding uncontrollably down the ramp. This cable only served to prevent the car from sliding back, and was not able to pull the car up the ramp.
Three new television commercials have been developed for “25 years of quattro”. The “Ski Jump” commercial; “Moments”, which shows parts of Audi’s rich racing history as well as snippets from the original 1986 ski jump commercial; and “Electric Game”, which speaks to the benefits of quattro all-wheel drive while cornering under any type of road conditions.
Regional print ads now include a timeline of the past 25 years, highlighting Audi’s leadership in all-wheel drive technology over that time period.
Finally, a micro-site has been developed for “25 years of quattro”. The site www.audiusa.com is dedicated to celebrating Audi’s “25 years of quattro”, and also features the S4 25quattro, a limited edition S4 that was developed to commemorate the anniversary.