Branded ‘memories of the future’: The ironic case of Audi

A Russian branch of the German car maker Audi has recently produced a very interesting piece of communication, creatively working with the ‘future’ theme. In their 2011 calendar they show seemingly futuristic scenes all having one detail in common: independently of the portrayed future’s nature, it always has Audi car; the future is Audi, even if this future will be unfolding on one of the Saturn’s moons.

This trick is known as a creation of the ‘branded memories of the future’, and practiced widely used in multiple sci-fi movies (from Blade Runner through all Matrixes to Minority Report and further on). Certain future landscapes are presented in an impressive and convincing way, shaping their readiness to these futures when they ‘occur’ (or in fact, priming then to start working toward such futures). The embodiment of the brand into such future scenery works as a subtle, but nevertheless powerful method of colonization of the future.

In case of Audi (you can see all the images at the Behance, Audi 2011 Calendar) this method is applied ad absurdo; instead of creating ‘realistic’, ‘grounded’ and ‘believable’ future scenarios, the team compiles a panorama of almost grotesque possible future, compiled out of the overused (and hyperdosed) cliches: Coruscant-like cityscapes with the Syd Mead type of devices of all sorts. Paradoxically, this range of the total simulacrums works perfectly: Audi associates itself not with any particular cut of the cutter, but with a Future, with the essence of the idea itself. Audi = Future, the future is Audi.

An amazingly clever, ironic/iconic a case, and perfectly executed too; kudus to the team.

NB: This a repost of the piece I wrote for Summ()n blog.