• Audi apologized on Monday for an ad it posted to Twitter, saying it was “insensitive” and that the image “will not be used in the future.”
  • The ad, which depicted a young girl leaning against the grille of an Audi RS4 Avant, drew criticism on online for multiple things, including being insensitive to the dangers cars pose to young children when drivers can’t see over the hood.
  • Audi said it will “immediately examine internally, how this campaign has been created and if control mechanisms failed in this case.”
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After an uproar on social media, luxury carmaker Audi apologized for an ad depicting a young girl leaning against the grille of one of its high-performance station wagons while eating a banana.

“We sincerely apologize for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future,” the brand said in a statement on Twitter.

Audi posted the ad to Twitter on Sunday with the caption “Lets your heart beat faster – in every aspect.” Users quickly criticized the photo, with some noting that the child was in a dangerous position by standing in front of the car, potentially out of view of a driver.

"This is a frightening image giving testimony to the fact that such enormous speed machines are a danger to our children and societies and do not belong on city streets with kids around," one person commented. "Makes my stomach turn just looking at it."

"One in every 13 child deaths is the result of a road collision," the European Transport Safety Council, a nonprofit organization with the goal of decreasing transport deaths and injuries, tweeted in response to the ad.

Some critics called the ad sexually suggestive, citing the banana in the child's hand as a phallic symbol. Others saw no problem with the image and came to Audi's defense online.

"Just a kid," one person tweeted. "Eating a banana. Whilst leaning on a cool (and stationary) car. Nothing more, Nothing less."

Audi responded to the outcry on Monday, the day after the ad went up, apologizing for the image and promising not to use the photo in any future ads.

"We hear you and let's get this straight: We care for children," the carmaker said in a tweet. "The Audi RS 4 is a family car with more than thirty driver assistance systems including an emergency break system. That's why we showcased it with various family members for the campaign."

Audi also said it would investigate "how this campaign has been created and if control mechanisms failed in this case."

Volkswagen, Audi's sister brand under the Volkswagen Group, recently came under fire for an ad that depicted an oversized white hand pushing around a Black man. Volkswagen quickly apologized for the video and committed to establishing a diversity board that would review creative content.