Audi has yanked an ad showing a little girl eating a banana in front one of its cars — following backlash that the image was sexually suggestive.
The ad from the German carmaker carried the slogan “Let your heart beat faster — in every aspect” and featured the child with a banana in her hand and leaning on the grill of the red RS 4, BBC News reported.
The vehicle was being marketed as a family car with an emergency braking system — but some critics took issue on Twitter.
“So, let your heart beat faster in every aspect? Picture of — child with banana in mouth and flash car — so wrong in EVERY aspect,” one person wrote.
Another wrote: “AHH come on. The banana, pose, red colour are incredibly suggestive,” before adding: “I have studied Freud, Mulvey, this reeks of the male gaze.”
Others then took issue with the message the brand may have been sending by placing the child in front of the car — where the driver wouldn’t be able to see her.
“As a learning point, I would like to know how this came about. When I saw the photo of the child, my heart lurched,” a mom tweeted. “I have drummed into my children NEVER to stand in front of or behind a car as you may not be seen. Were any parents/mothers involved in this design?”
Meanwhile, some called out the critics for thinking the ad was too provocative.
“Some people have very sick minds and need a LOT of therapy because there are some serious mental issues going on with them,” one tweet suggested.
Audi issued an apology Monday on Twitter, saying, “We hear you and let’s get this straight: We care for children.”
It said it would conduct an internal review of how the campaign was created in the first place.
“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,” Audi explained. “That was a mistake! Audi never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
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