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

The Russian branch of the German car maker Audi has recently produced a very interesting piece of communication, that creatively works with the ‘future’ theme. Their 2011 calendar shows a variety of seemingly futuristic scenes, all having one detail in common: independently of the portrayed future, it always has an Audi car in ti; the future is Audi (even if this future will be unfolding on one of the Saturn’s moons).

This trick is often named as the ‘branded memories of the future’. It is widely used in multiple sci-fi movies (from Blade Runner through all Matrixes to Minority Report, and further). Certain future landscapes are presented in an impressive and convincing way, shaping people’s readiness to these futures when they ‘occur’ (or in fact, priming people to start working toward such futures already). The embodiment of the brand into such future sceneries works as a subtle, but nevertheless very powerful method of ‘colonization of the future’ with today’s ideas.

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 futures, compiled out of the overused and hyperdosed cliches: Coruscant-like cityscapes filled with the Syd Mead type of devices and vehicles of all sorts.

Paradoxically, this range of total simulacrums works perfectly well: Audi associates itself not with any particular cut of the futurer, but with a Future, with the very essence of the idea of the future itself. Audi = Future, future = Audi.

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

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