The company is backing two launches this year with a new ad push and a big boost in Internet spend. The company is gearing up for the launch of its new A5 sedan--which goes to market in March--and its A4 sedan, which rolls into showrooms in September, with a TV ad during the Super Bowl that features the limited-edition R8 sports car and carries a "Godfather" message.
(Click here to see video taken by Karl Greenberg at the auto show!)
Scott Keogh, CMO of the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based U.S. sales arm, tells Marketing Daily the company's first-ever Super Bowl ad, featuring the R8, will have a message that reflects--at least thematically--the "Godfather" story: young upstart replaces the old guard. Keogh says that ad is just the start of a series of initiatives--many of them Web-based--to promote the brand and new cars as both avant-garde and legitimate luxury players.
"We are calling it the year of Audi," says Keogh. "What we are doing with this creative is striking a moment in time. There's a sea change going on in America between new and old luxury. New luxury is about substance of vehicle, what's beneath the skin. It's about how much did I learn."
He says the creative "Godfather" concept for the brand campaign featuring R8 is intended to juxtapose old versus new. "'The Godfather' is a pretty close reflection of the creative, but that's all I'm going to say. But the important thing here is we wanted to go 'leadership' all the way. So we picked the number one media, the Super Bowl, and the number one movie, 'Godfather,' and number one vehicle, R8."
Keogh says that in terms of follow-up, the intent is to go toward more volume and broader audience as the year progresses, with the A5 and A4, respectively. "R8 is completely sold out, and we want to use this as a strategic halo for the company. The campaign will continue with the other two vehicles." He adds that the company is boosting online spend.
"Audi is always going to be fundamentally an online brand, so we will have our iconic moments--whether [advertising on the] Olympics for A4 or the Super Bowl--but 95 to 96% of Audi buyers go to Audi.com before purchasing. So we are never losing sight of that. We have increased our online spend significantly. We are doubling the number of 'vodcasts' we are doing, and I think if you look at the Super Bowl, when the dust settles, the most important story will be what happens online."