Irony is vital to Ricky Gervais’ comedy, so it may be too close to call whether Audi’s new ad campaign—which features Gervais hawking cars under the tagline “Stay Uncompromised”—is being intentionally ironic. Since selling out (and selling cars) generally involves compromising one’s integrity for a paycheck, one has to wonder if this is all some extremely meta approach by Audi to overwhelm its audience with cognitive dissonance, confusing them into accidentally purchasing its new A3 sedan.
In the first, oddly somber add, Gervais details his “uncompromising” work as a three-time Golden Globes host, and how he made the bold choice to tell one or two slightly-off color jokes that no one has talked about since 2012.
The second spot features a precocious little girl reading unflattering tweets while Gervais looks uncomfortable. But by the end of the ad, he realizes the complaints mean he’s doing something right, since only the most uncompromising of artists get rude messages on Twitter. (It’s why Justin Bieber is a musical genius.)
Finally, the third spot features Gervais and an eclectic group of supporting players—including a chef, a photojournalist, and Kristen Schaal—reciting the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” as a rallying cry for staying uncompromised. Also, for buying an Audi.
While we can’t fault Gervais for making a few extra bucks (We at The A.V. Club are very familiar with the benefits of sponsorship; hey, have you seen Bad Words yet?), it does seem a little odd to center the campaign around being authentic, when celebrity car commercials are anything but. Or maybe that’s the joke?