Audi is celebrating the 40th anniversary of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ -- the famous slogan which translates as ‘advancement through technology’ and sums up the company’s philosophy ever since the slogan made its debut in a German publicity campaign in 1971.
The motto was first used by the company in its 1983 advertising in the United Kingdom. At that time, the origins of the promising brand were not widely known yet, and thus, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London-based advertising agency, realized its potential as a means of emphasizing German engineering integrity and quality.
These days, the motto is not just permanently linked to the brand, as it is also one of the rare foreign phrases to firmly take a hold into the British popular culture. In fact, the motto can be heard from tracks by U2 and Blur to movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The classic BBH TV advertisement, which gave rise to this star of screen and sound bite, has made the connection between the iconic Audi quattro and the permanent all-wheel-drive system.
However, the motto is ingrained in the technical leadership and pioneering innovations that the company was already synonymous with long before this point. Audi’s new NSU lineup was so diverse to the point that a unifying brand claim was necessary in order to epitomize what all models had in common.
Specifically, the NSU range included the front-wheel-drive Audi models with 4-cylinder water-cooled engines, the rear-engined, air-cooled NSU 2- and 4-cylinder cars, the aerodynamically wedge-shaped and rotary-engined Ro 80, and the lightweight Audi 100. The ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ motto united this new range and combined the company’s philosophy in one.