Audi has boosted brand awareness and consideration tremendously over the past half decade, and sales are way up. With a 23% increase in June, the automaker has sold more cars in six months this year than it sold all year in 2009.
But the company still has the perennial challenge of building awareness and consideration. Audi is doing it with social-media-centric campaigns and partnerships, such as a new category-exclusive TV and digital marketing program supporting FX's "Tyrant" and "Fargo" series.
For “Tyrant” Audi has a season-long presence in-show with units in all episodes, and full marketing category exclusivity across the season. It also has sponsored pre-season "Behind the Scenes" tagged tune-ins ("Brought to you by Audi"), as well as billboards in the series premieres. There are also branded Web pointers in broadcast driving to the online content and digital home page roadblocks on premiere and finale dates and footage on Facebook and Twitter. For "Fargo," Audi has three minutes of custom content “FX fearless moments,” interweaving Audi footage with scenes from upcoming FX programs.
"The biggest task we have still in marketing is awareness," says Loren Angelo, director of marketing at the Herndon, Va.-based Audi of America. "We have made tremendous strides in consideration and opinion; we have improved those metrics by 30% or greater, but we still have a task at hand."
He tells Marketing Daily that provocative programming like "Tyrant," which follows a Middle Eastern pediatrician who takes his U.S. family back to his home country, run by his tyrannical father, represents Audi’s "Shift to high-profile media environments both on the broadcast and digital. The challenge is always finding those new opportunities around intelligent programming."
The automaker has had an ongoing relationship with FX for a couple of years starting when Audi approached them for opportunities with "cutting edge" programming, per Angelo. "We said that instead of just sponsoring we'd like to develop integrated platforms. FX is known for doing things that are going to create some conversation. They are going to stir the pot."
Angelo says Audi is also working with ABC Family around the uber hit "Pretty Little Liars." "It is one of the highest socially connected programs today," says Angelo. "And it had the most-tweeted episode last year. So this year we approached ABC Family because we were introducing the new A3 [compact sedan, which Audi is positioning as a gateway car for younger prospects.] Audi has one of the youngest predisposed audiences with millennials and we want to reinforce that relationship. And we know that with this level of social TV viewing they are speaking in real-time with friends and family, and their social network. 'Pretty Little Liars' gave us an interesting forum to capitalize on a hot show."
He says that in the first couple of “Liars” episodes, the automaker has set records on its Twitter and Snapchat channels. "We have more than doubled where we are, with over 25,000 new consumers added to the fan base. So we have tapped into something that's getting us a lot more recognition."