Audi Turns To Film To Target Non-Race Fans

Audi film Audi of America is getting into the film business to promote its racing program--and its high-performance diesel powertrains. The Herndon, Va. company is promoting a 96-minute documentary called "Truth in 24" about Audi's race-development program leading up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The 90-minute film, produced by NFL Films, has been making the festival circuit, but Audi is about to get much wider coverage, since it has inked a broadcast deal for the film with a major network.

The film focuses on the race-car drivers, pit crew and engineers. Audi of America Chief Marketing Officer Scott Keogh says the documentary is primarily intended to support the brand, but its secondary function is to get people talking about diesel as a performance powertrain.

At this week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker unveiled the diesel A3 TDI (turbo diesel injection) which gets 42 miles to the gallon. Audi's first diesel will be the Q7 SUV, coming out this spring, with the A3 TDI due out during the fall.



The company also showed a V10 version of the R8 sports car and a concept called Audi Sportback, a four-door coupe.

"We wanted to come up with a way of telling the Audi racing story, but if you look at how other brands promote their racing programs, it's often the corporate hospitality suite at the track, or corporate ads saying we won this or that race," he says. "We realized that kind of marketing couldn't tell the story."

Keogh says that rather than doing its own corporate film or long-form ad, Audi went to NFL Films, although the company had no experience with racing. "Really, this thing to us comes down to human drama; we went to them because they are masters at telling the human story and creating drama. We had conversations, and they said we are interested if they could have 100% access--so we did that and took a huge risk, because if we didn't win the race, it becomes a difficult documentary," he says. The film, co-produced with Chicago-based Intersport, is narrated by action movie star Jason Statham.

Audi initially launched the documentary at events like the AFI Festival in L.A., and the Chicago Film Festival. In addition to the major network deal--the company names the network today--it will also be available for download via another deal that is in the works with an online film distribution company.

Keogh says the company avoided cable channels like The Speed Channel because the target is not exclusively racing buffs. "My criterion is simple: we wanted people who aren't in the know--non-race fans--to see it and say, 'That's a very cool movie'--and beyond that, 'Audi is a very cool company,'" he says.

He says the network deal will put the film in front of "tens of millions of viewers" before it moves. "The final piece of the puzzle is DVDs, and we will have them available on the Web site."

Audi had a relatively good year last year. Sales were off around 6%, but the segment was off about 19%. Keogh says the company gained a point of market share and new credibility partly because of the R8 sports car, which the company launched during last year's Super Bowl. "Awareness, consideration and opinion are higher than they've been in twenty years," he says. He says brand awareness is up 15%, consideration is up 44%, and opinion is up 20%.

In next month's Super Bowl, Audi will use a 60-second spot to advertise the supercharged A6 sedan. Keogh says Audi will again play on an iconic movie. Last year's R8 spot referenced "The Godfather."

1 comment about "Audi Turns To Film To Target Non-Race Fans ".
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  1. Lindsay Yaw from The Mandelbrot Project, January 13, 2009 at 10:40 a.m.

    how do you purchase this DVD? Men and women alike would love to know!

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