Super Bowl LIV

Audi taps 'Game of Thrones' actor Maisie Williams to star in Super Bowl ad

Actress Maisie Williams is perhaps best known for starring in "Game of Thrones".

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

While most of us associate "Let It Go" with an ear worm from the movie "Frozen," Audi is hoping that its new Super Bowl spot by the same name will prove just as memorable. The German automaker has tapped actor Maisie Williams to star in the commercial alongside its Audi E-Tron Sportback.

Williams, whose credits include "Game of Thrones", "Robot Chicken", and "Dr. Who," takes the wheel in the ad that kicks off the vehicle's global brand campaign. The musically-inspired 60-second commercial features Williams singing her own version of the song made famous by Idina Manzel.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback The commercial features Williams driving an Audi and signing.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The script for the ad plays out with Williams behind the wheel of the new electric SUV stuck in traffic. Audi says that the intersection she stops at "represents a crossroads of today's preconceptions and old notions of consumption, success, and status."

This is the audience's first clue that they're about to be lectured on the social and environmental responsibility of owning the SUV.

The ad continues with Williams choosing to reverse course and leave "it all" behind, as she breaks out in sold and drives "towards a more sustainable future." A musical isn't complete without a full cast singing effort so along the way fellow drivers, pedestrians, and others join in, "representing the brand's efforts to usher in a new era of sustainable mobility. The journey is a metaphor for how the decision to make more sustainable choices takes all of us doing our part."

Williams recorded the vocals for the commercial at the acclaimed Abbey Road Studios in London where the Beatles, Queen, and others have recorded.

Audi has been vocal about its sustainability efforts, leveraging the messaging to help sell its E-Tron line of vehicles, which have faltered out of the gate. The low sales numbers are unsurprising considering a recent Ford survey indicated that a good portion of the world has no interest in owning an electric vehicle. Daimler has recently forced to dispute claims that it was cutting back production of its Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV due to a forecasted lack of demand.

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John Mayer has been a Land Rover Defender enthusiast for more than a decade.

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson, courtesy of Land Rover

Instagram users are familiar with seeing musician John Mayer inside his home, broadcasting on Live in his "Current Mood" series. now, they can head to his IGTV channel to see "John Mayer Goes Outside", a new advertising campaign from Atlantic Re:think and Land Rover.

The video features Mayer journeying into the forests of Northern California including Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park while behind the wheel of the 2020 Land Rover Defender. The film was show over three days in March, just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the conversation. The collaboration includes behind-the-scenes images and videos from the shoot.

John Mayer, Land Rover Defender  Goes Outside Mayer journey's to one of America's most beloved state parks.Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson, courtesy of Land Rover

Speaking of his time adventuring in the woods, Mayer said, "I don't think you can come out here and get any other message from yourself other than, 'You're alright. You're okay.'"

The shoot marked Mayer's first time in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and first time driving the new Land Rover Defender, a vehicle Mayer has history with as he has been a Defender enthusiast and vintage model owner for more than a decade.

"We wanted to capture the experience of being outdoors, in a way that didn't feel forced or scripted. In other words, get John Mayer in his favorite car and show him a good time in the wilderness," says Jeremy Elias, executive creative director of Atlantic Re:think. "The trip has taken on new meaning in the months since we filmed, and so has the brand's message of embracing the power and beauty of the great outdoors."

John Mayer, Land Rover Defender  Goes Outside The film includes plenty of Redwood trees.Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson, courtesy of Land Rover

"John Mayer, in addition to being an incredibly accomplished musician, is a gear aficionado with a passion for all things mechanical," said Stuart Schorr, Vice President of Communications, Jaguar Land Rover North America. "He has been watching the development of the new Defender, and we have been keenly aware of his Defender collection as well as frankly being fans of his music. We are so proud he's one of the first people in the United States to get in a Defender, and that he was able to share his poetic take on exploring America's national parks."

Click here to visit John Mayer's Instagram feed and view the film.

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The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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