Vorsprung durch Technik is the most well known slogan for Audi, translating roughly to Advancement Through Technology in English. This was the first of Audi’s campaign slogans, and the most recognized around the world. But over the years, there have been others, each giving a distinct impression of the brand, and what their cars stand for.
The German phrase that is the Audi slogan was coined in 1971, just as the automaker was emerging as a frontrunner in innovative design and technology. The strapline is one of the most longest running in advertising history, and is used all over the European continent in Audi ads. The catchy jingles and gear that evolved from the phrase are so intertwined with Audi as a brand that they were able to successfully trademark the phrase with the European Court of Justice in 2008.
Likely because Americans don’t have the right tongue to pronounce it right, Audi USA changed the slogan to “Truth in Engineering” in 2007. Same concept, just easier to pronounce for those on the other side of the pond.
Truth in Engineering pays tribute to the brand’s continued excellence in performance from their vehicles. This is largely due to a superior design and construction of the luxury car brand, and the courage to seek and instill new systems in the car’s engineering. As a result, we are gifted with a line of cars that are energy efficient, remarkably maneuverable and of course easy on the eyes. Truth in Engineering at times does not seem to do Audi justice when describing the cars or the brand.
Over the years, other smaller campaigns have been launched by Audi, usually to focus on the introduction of one particular model or new innovation. These marketing techniques have often employed their own catch phrase, some of which are even catchier than the “Truth in Engineering” we have grown accustomed to:
“Keeping Ahead Through Technology”
“Everyone Dreams of an Audi”
“Following Your Own Rules. Audi A6”
“Audi S line. More Horses, Fewer Seconds”
“Protection on All Sides”
“It’s a Miracle But We’ve Made It”
Some of the slogans used by Audi don’t make much sense when heard or read out of context. “Protection on All Sides” for example, can be very misleading unless you know that it is referring to an Audi with Side Guard System. “It’s a Miracle But We’ve Made It” refers to the Audi Quattro, and is quite clever in insinuating the Quattro is a miracle.
“Never Follow” was the campaign that was dropped just before “Truth in Engineering” was introduced. The concept was inspiring, but nixed in favor of highlighting the advanced technologies of Audi rather than its dream appeal. Still, it did capture the fact that as far as automotive engineering is concerned, Audi certainly is never following.
Vorsprung durch Technik may be the first of the Audi campaign slogans, but for Audi USA, we will remember always to “Never Follow”. That campaign may have run its course, but the meaning of the message will never be lost on anyone who is in love with Audi.