Audi pulls 'insensitive' ad featuring girl eating banana in front of car

Posted August 4, 2020 12:25 p.m. EDT

— Audi has apologized for an advert showing a young girl eating a banana in front of a premium car, admitting it was "insensitive" and promising not to use the image in future.

The German carmaker posted the advert for the Audi RS4, which was captioned "Lets your heart beat faster — in every aspect," on Twitter on Sunday.

But the image quickly drew criticism from people on social media, as some pointed out that the child — stood in front of the car's grill — was in a dangerous position.

"Nice, that you show how children can easily be killed by your cars. You can't even see them out of the car," one person commented.

"This is just tasteless. A child in front of the grille, who is hardly visible from the driver's seat. What kind of advertising is this?" another Twitter user asked.

Others said that the image was sexually suggestive, with one person describing the image as a "little girl with phallic symbol in her hand."

The carmaker responded to the furor on Monday, apologizing for the "insensitive" image.

"We hear you and let's get this straight: We care for children. The Audi RS 4 is a family car with more than thirty driver assistance systems including an emergency break [sic] system. That's why we showcased it with various family members for the campaign," it said in a statement on Twitter.

"We hoped we could convey these messages, showing that even for the weakest traffic participants it is possible to relaxingly lean on the RS technology. That was a mistake! Audi never intended to hurt anyone's feelings.

"We sincerely apologize for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future," the carmaker said in its statement.

The company added that it would examine how the campaign had been created, "and if control mechanisms failed in this case."

Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group, which apologized in May for posting a racist video promoting its new VW Golf 8 on the company's official Instagram page.

The clip, which showed an outsized white hand pushing a black man away from a parked Golf, before flicking him into a restaurant called Petit Colon, which translates from French as the Little Colonist or Little Settler, was withdrawn.

In 2017, a commercial equating women to used cars angered consumers in China and forced an apology from Audi. The advert, which only aired in China and was later withdrawn, was produced by the used car division of Volkswagen's joint venture in the country.

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