HERNDON, Virginia — The third-generation 2016 Audi TT stars in a new commercial that fuses reality and illusion as it takes viewers on a virtual roller-coaster ride through a variety of challenging terrains.
Entitled "Reality? Check," the ad begins as a young boy plays with an Audi TT slot car and a toy helicopter. But as his imagination takes over, the video morphs into an outdoor scene in which a real TT is put through its paces by a stunt driver.
Roaring along a rugged coastline and then through a dense forest, the TT evokes Audi's rally heritage as it narrowly dodges rocks and trees, eventually finding its way to the streets of San Francisco, where cable cars provide more opportunity for near-misses.
Occasional shots of the toy Audi are interspersed with scenes of the real 2016 TT, sometimes at full speed and sometimes in slow motion as it gobbles up dirt, sand, gravel and pavement.
Chased by a helicopter, the TT screams down an open highway before a final cut takes viewers back to the child's room, where he's maneuvering his toy chopper over the scale-model Audi on his slot-car track, seeming to make it clear that the entire adventure was all in his mind. Except...
At the last second, a real helicopter looms into view just outside the window, leaving open the question: fantasy or reality?
Audi notes that the ad was shot using tilt-shift photography, a technique that is often used to simulate a miniature scene. Here, it helps further blur the line between reality and film.
"It really starts to play with your brain," said director Mouse McCoy in a behind-the-scenes video. "It starts to challenge what you're seeing. Is it a miniature, or is it real? Is this something that was created out of a kid's imagination?"
Greg Baldi, director of production, notes: "We did this with a production car, without doing any modifications at all."
As the TT hit 120 mph sliding sideways, then charged at 95 mph down city streets, added driver Greg Tracy, "it started to feel more like a race than a normal film shoot."
Edmunds says: A local Audi dealer can help interested shoppers distinguish between a real and an imagined 2016 TT.