Audi officially unveils its all-new Q8 utility vehicle next week. Unfortunately, I’ll be forced to watch episodes of the terrible miniseries the company decided to use as a digital hype machine until that time.
After expressing my concerns over the initial episode’s lack of vision and total inability to provide viewers with a single meaningful image of the automobile, I can happily report back that Audi has solved one of those problems nine days later. Having just finished episode three, the plot remains as meaningless as the lyrics to Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.” However, we are finally treated to a brief glimpse of the Q8’s bodywork — which is all I’m willing to care about at this point.
While we enjoy a microsecond of the model’s backside in episode two, it is largely obscured by other vehicles in the parking garage. There’s a closer shot as the main character is stuffed into the opened tailgate. But the only thing to be gleaned there is that the Q8 has European plates, despite the story being set in California.
Before we dive into the third episode of this unmitigated disaster, let’s recap a bit. Having woken up in an abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere in the first episode, our main character makes a failed attempt to contact his wife. There are extended flashbacks of her showering, then he remembers being kidnaped and wanders from the shack into an empty desert. For episode two, our main spends all his time walking the sands and reminiscing upon his abduction until he flags down a comely trucker. Before the pair even manage to exchange pleasantries, she pulls a shotgun on him.
That little incident is entirely glossed over when we return for part three. After the opening credits conclude, the duo is already cruising along in relative silence as he attempts to call his wife again. Unfortunately, she’s swimming at home and doesn’t hear her phone ringing. The trucker notices he seems displeased that his call didn’t go through and, rather than ask him what’s the matter, she attempts to have sex with him.
The male lead suggests they take a look at what she’s hauling. This is not a euphemism. Her advances simply fail and the pair walk to the back of the trailer. Opening it, we see the face of the Q8 as the headlights come up in a programmed fashion.
As far as twist endings go, I have to admit it’s not on par with a Keyser Söze or Tyler Durden. Since this is just a poorly crafted car commercial masquerading as a legitimate narrative, there really wasn’t going to be anything else back there — and that’s the problem. Despite only being three minutes an episode, Audi Communications’ #Q8Unleashed is a total chore to sit through.
We have no idea who these characters are or why we should care about them. Meanwhile, brief action sequences seem to crop up at random and serve no purpose other than to make it seem like something is actually happening. Even the car, which is the entire reason these shorts even exist, serves no obvious purpose. It’s just sort of there. The musical choices are hysterically bad, bordering on parody, and the acting is similarly subpar. Although, who can even say if it’s the fault of the cast. There are hardly have any lines uttered in this debacle and the few words the confused script does call for are cringeworthy.
No one expected Audi to create a masterpiece here, but it don’t even appear to be interested in making a car commercial. In spite of my best efforts, I cannot make sense of what this visual experiment is supposed to be. It’s too poorly done to be a half-serious attempt at storytelling and the complete absence of product throws the marketing angle out the window.
Being this critical of #Q8Unleashed feels a little cruel, but my hope is that no other automaker will be this lazy ever again. I am truly amazed this was produced and completely dumbfounded that Audi wanted to share it with the public once it saw what it had.
A few still images of the Q5 would have sufficed and cost far less money.