Audi's Super Bowl Ad To Intro 'New Era In Luxury'

Leveraging a record sales year in the U.S., Audi plans to introduce a "new era in luxury" with a 60-second ad buy in the Super Bowl. It will be the first time the North American arm of Volkswagen AG's Audi of America will appear in the annual advertising extravaganza.

Audi will join General Motors and Toyota as automotive advertisers in a marketplace expected to cost $3 million for 30 seconds. Chrysler has demurred.

CMO Scott Keogh says the company decided to buy time during the early portion of the game, for which ads can run as much as $3 million for a 30-second spot, because Audi is asserting itself in the U.S. marketplace. The company has posted record sales in the U.S. this year, with 85,004 vehicles sold through November--an 8.7% increase versus the period in 2006, although November sales were off 1.1% versus November last year.

"Coming off a record year where we launched the R8, we wanted to take the next step to popularize the brand. And if you want to make a major statement in the United States, you do it on the biggest stage, which happens to be the Super Bowl. The platform could not get bigger, and our creative will certainly drive home the point that there is a new era in luxury in the automotive category."

Audi will also have a brand presence at the event in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a version of its Audi Forum retail concept.

Audi bowed the Audi Forum "brand awareness space" last fall in a former dealership on Park Avenue in New York and heralded the opening with a rolling motorcade led by the R8 roadster in which New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg rode shotgun. The R8 stars in the new Super Bowl ad. Venables Bell & Partners, S.F., handles.

Keogh says the Audi Forum retail experience (a cross between a dealership and an art space and lounge) will be in Scottsdale for the week leading up to the game. There are 11 such forums around the country and in London, Berlin and Tokyo.

"This will be a luxury haven for VIPs, celebrities and athletes to experience the essence of the Audi brand," he says.

Keogh says the company isn't ready to talk creative, but allowed that "we will be tapping into our dealer networks and allowing prospective customers and current owners the opportunity to opt-in and see the spot online early on the day of the game. We're still looking to keep an element of surprise to our plans."



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