Audi gave owners of Apple's iPad a chance to attend last weekend's "24 Hours of Le Mans" auto race. At least virtually. The effort made Audi sponsor of real-time race coverage on SkyGrid, an app that aggregates real-time news for the Apple tablet.
Audi has won the race eight times in the past eight years and has promoted its involvement with such efforts as an NFL Films and Chicago-based Intersport-produced documentary, "Truth in 24."
The new program involved high-definition iPad content that included live streaming of the race from inside Audi's three cars racing in the 24-hour event.
Doug Clark, general manager of social media and marketing for Audi, tells Marketing Daily that the automaker worked with Speed Channel to offer live coverage of the race for the five and a half hours that it was not on Speed TV. He says the in-car footage from the race was also be at AudiUSA.com.
"We have had a history of looking for innovative ways to share our performance story; the iPad, with its large image, graphics and sounds, seemed an ideal place to marry Audi performance with the forward-thinking folks who find iPad interesting technology," he says, adding that the concurrent FIFA games won't have an impact on peoples' interest in the race. "Motorsports fans will tune into Le Mans, and given the fact that that it goes for 24 hours and soccer is a lot less, you can capture both."
The race began on Saturday at 3 p.m. in central Europe (9 a.m. Eastern). Clark says Audi's branding at the Live at Le Mans section of SkyGrid's platform was on two places with Audi-specific content. "One is where you are able to see the 5.5 hours of coverage from Speed and can then, through that area, get to some of the Audi of America content. The other is in-car coverage. Per Clark, over 100,000 have SkyGrid.
A spokesperson at Audi of America says Audi last year scaled back its presence in U.S. versions of Le Mans because of the economy. "We have increased our participation, but are not full bore to where we were two years ago."