Now, you might be wondering why Audi would spend so much promoting the R8. The cost of an ad during the Super Bowl can run $5 million for 30 seconds (and this was a one-minute long ad). Plus there's the cost of producing the ad which, with it's movie-like production values, was probably in the millions. All this for a car that very few people can afford (the base price for the R8 is $162,900).
It's because the R8 is a "halo car."
What's a halo car? It is a vehicle that car manufactures hope adds prestige to their brand. And, with luck, they'll sell some, too. After all they make great rolling advertisements. I saw an older-model Audi R8 in Bellevue, Washington on the interstate once. When it accelerated to jump into a hole in traffic, the sound of its exhaust was nearly erotic for a car guy such as me.
Halo cars is the reason Dodge ran this ad in 1999 for its Viper (another very expensive car):
Not many people were going to by a Viper. But when Joe decides he needs a minivan, in the back of his head he'll think "I want the one made by the company that makes that cool Viper."
Halo cars aren't always high-performance and expensive. For instance, Toyota's halo car is the Prius.
But if you see a car ad for a car you can't afford by a company that makes cars you can afford, it's probably a halo car.