Audi Of America Hires The G Man: But Will It Translate Into New Car Sales?

The only thing more famous than tomorrow’s upcoming Super Bowl, are of course the ads. Audi of America currently has a very funny teaser ad on YouTube.

This teaser is set in a luxury prison, and features the often maligned Kenny G poking fun at himself. He plays a prison guard, whose job it is to do riot suppression. Enjoy…

Yeah, anybody calls me “Kenny Z,” I’ll f*** them up. I’ll play an E, I’ll play an E flat. They can’t touch me after that.

Regardless what you think of the G Man’s playing, you gotta admit, he can at least laugh at himself. But will our soprano-packing, smooth jazz player be able to sell Audis? Well obviously the advertising company and test audiences thought so.

However, let’s face it, it’s not directly about car sales. It’s about image and public awareness. Raising the product in the consumer’s consciousness, and then creating a link to the product that the consumer can relate to, or an image that the consumer wants to, or can identify with, that’s really what it’s all about.

Number crunching in a few months will show Audi if the privilege appeal—or whatever this particular advertising campaign is called—paid off, and translated into more units sold. In the meantime, those of us who aren’t in the market for a new Audi, can just sit back and enjoy the show. 8)

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

© 2011, Helen. All rights reserved.


Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.


  1. Having grown up in the German car culture, I’d have to say that there are Benz drivers and there are Audi drivers, just as there are Porsche drivers, etc. People as a whole, tend to be pretty brand loyal. I think the introduction of the Japanese luxury lines like Lexus, has changed the landscape for these German car companies significantly. Gone is their stranglehold on the marketplace. For a micro example, my uncle was a professional rally driver for Opal for years. He has a room at home that is lined with trophies on all 4 walls. For his personal car however, he chose a Benz. He had a rare ’64 something or other, that he had for decades. When he finally gave into Benz and handed it over to their museum, he continued driving Benz products for a number of years. However, for the last 10 or so years, he switched to Lexus. This is a man who was born in and has lived in Stuttgart—the home of Mercedes—all of his life.

    My uncle’s story is far from unique. Furthermore, I think the younger generations tend to be less brand loyal, which is of course exactly who these Privilege Ads (for lack of a better term) by Audi are aimed at. While there certainly is an appeal being made to the older/trying to be hipper crowd, in my mind the main audience for these ads are those successful people approaching, or already in their mid-life, who desire luxury cars. This Generation X crowd I guess is supposed to have the disposable income necessary to support the A8—regardless of what the after warranty reality of the product is.

  2. The main problem with Audi (or German cars in general) is that the maintenance costs spiral out of control sooner than those of other cars. If you buy one new and keep it 3 or 4 years, you’re probably fine — it becomes someone else’s problem. But don’t you think this reality affects what you get for it when you dump it? Even if it’s a lease, the depreciation factored into what you paid for the lease.

    Audi has wanted to be in the Benz’n’Beemer Society for decades. So do Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, etc. The fact is that for the most part, they all make pretty nice vehicles and pretty nice profit margins. Unfortunately, it is the Benz’n’Beemer Society itself that defines what fits and what does not, and making a good car is only a prerequisite. You also have to be popular (in the high school sense, not the sales sense — else Toyota would be way out front).

    The whole commercial, and Kenny G’s inclusion, are an attempt to play to hipsters and others who appreciate this self-deprecating kind of humor. It might work, but it will do little to endear them to the BnBS crowd they simultaneously want to entice.

    Somewhat related — I have heard recordings and seen videos of the G man when playing tenor in someone else’s band, and he really can tear it up. Then again, Lady Gaga can really sing too. The problem in both cases is the technically proficient but meaningless crap they churn out using those abilities.

  3. Toujours l’audace…

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