German automaker Audi has apologized for an ad showing a little girl eating a banana in front of a high-performance car, which drew a torrent of criticism on Twitter.
“We hear you and make it clear: we care about the kids,” Audi tweeted in apology.
“We sincerely apologize for this callous image and make sure it will not be used again in the future. ”
Critics said the child’s pose was “provocative” and was life threatening.
Some have pointed out that the driver could not see the child in this pose, leaning on the grille.
Others said the image was sexually suggestive, as bananas and sports cars were often seen as symbols of male lust.
Audi’s English slogan above the image reads: “Let your heart beat faster – in every aspect. ”
The firm says it is currently investigating how the ad was published.
In May, German auto giant Volkswagen, owner of Audi, found itself embroiled in a similar dispute on social media. His ad showed a dark-skinned man maneuvered by a pair of white female hands, before being moved from a yellow VW Golf to a bold soundtrack.
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The Audi RS 4’s full announcement on the company’s website shows that it is being marketed as a family car – and that was apparently the backdrop to the controversial Twitter ad featuring the little girl eating a banana .
Jane Bradford tweeted an apologetic Audi: “So let your heart beat faster in all aspects? Photo of – child with banana in mouth and car flash – so wrong in ALL aspects ”.
Shiri @ home tweeted, “Little girl with the phallic symbol in her hand. Clear, great… ”
And DjBeeTee tweeted, “Let’s add it: red = eroticism, sports car = substitute for power, animal print miniskirt = sex appeal, banana = phallic symbol. But of course, this is all just accidental… ”
However, Mark Kreuzer, engineer and blogger, tweeted: “Hmm, well for me the message is: Audi RS4 = family car. Just like your own daughter makes your heart beat faster, so does the RS4. And both are of course cool. ”