Audi is using its Super Bowl LI ad about a soapbox derby racer as a literal soapbox to sound off on gender pay equality.
The car manufacturer's 60-second spot, titled "Daughter," shows a father watching his daughter crush her male competitors in a cart race.
"What do I tell my daughter?" the dad muses. "Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma? ... That despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?"
It's a heart wrenching feminist message, just two weeks after millions of people around the world marched in support of women's rights.
At the end of the ad, Audi writes that it is committed to "equal pay for equal work."
— Audi (@Audi) February 5, 2017
The ad's message has riled up some on social media, who seem confused over whether or not the gender pay gap is real (spoiler: it is).
A 2016 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee found that on average, women in the U.S. earn 21 per cent less than men. That gap is even worse for women of colour. Black women earn 60 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, and for Latina women that number drops to 55 cents.
The committee also found that as much as 40 per cent of that gap can be attributed to outright discrimination. The rest comes from factors like women taking maternity leave, or choosing lower-paying jobs due to varying economic and social forces. The gap was also found to widen — not narrow — as women get older.
Audi hired a female director, Aoife McArdle, for the televised spot, which is set to air during the third quarter. But Audi itself might be lacking when it comes to representation — out of Audi's top 14 executives, only two are women.
"Daughter" isn't the only political Super Bowl commercial this year. Other companies, including Budweiser and 84 Lumber, are using their spot to focus on immigration.