A new campaign from Audi in the U.K. has the advertising world buzzing. The ad features Christopher Reeve dressed as Clark Kent alongside a tagline of "Power from a less obvious place." The print ad has been met with mixed reviews. Some appreciate the homage to Reeve, while others feel it's in bad taste to capitalize on the image of a deceased public figure.
The point of the ad is rather clear. Audi is trying to say their vehicle doesn't appear powerful (Clark Kent) when it actually is (Superman). The question here isn't whether the connection makes sense (it does), it's whether it's appropriate.
Using a deceased figure to promote a product or a company is a risky move. You have to do it in a delicate way that honors the individual's image. One misstep can spell disaster not only for the campaign, but also for the image of the company. Remember when DirecTV used numerous deceased celebrities, such as Chris Farley, in a campaign? The special effects involved were rather remarkable, but the whole thing felt … dirty.
Is Audi's decision to use Reeve's image in good taste?