Audi Brand Terminal – outdoor brand initiative drives awareness
Client: Audi Australia
Campaign: The Audi Brand Terminal
Agency: The One Centre
Audi is the world’s fastest growing luxury sports car company and the fastest growing luxury car brand in Australia. It has not been luck that brought the marque to that position, rather, it has arrived there through the development of cars known for their progressive design and technically advanced engineering.In addition, Audi instigates pioneering and innovative marketing programs.
Increasingly time poor, the new luxury car buyer is finding it harder to get to a showroom. And increasingly mobile, the Audi audience is difficult to media target, being anywhere from Hamilton Island to the Snowy Mountains all in the one week.
In 2007, Audi Australia asked The One Centre to conceptualise, design and manufacture a portable display concept that could hero any Audi vehicle, as well as expressing the Audi brand values in an experientially exciting way.
Essentially, our strategy was simple – take the showroom to the people.
With the new global Audi Brand ‘Terminal’ retail showroom concept and the cars themselves as inspiration, we set out to design and construct a fully portable one car showroom that was as much a brand experience as it was a fully functional one car showroom.
Essentially we created a world first, a mobile car showcase that:
- Can be moved to any location with a car inside, simply by truck or helicopter
- Operates day and night
- Is completely weatherproof allowing it to function in snow, mountains, desert and by the sea (including a full climate control system inside)
- Contains a LED lighting systems and RGB colour-correcting sensors that show off the car’s true colour in any ambient light situation
- Through a stereo sound system and plasma display creates a dramatic backdrop and soundscape around the car
- Allows for maximum visibility of the car inside through the use of expanses of glass and clever ‘pillarless’ corners
If we were to talk about the actual design and manufacturing process we would need far more than the 800 word limit of this case study. So, I will limit the discussion to the challenges and key learnings we gained from the project.
The biggest challenge we faced in designing and then building the Audi Brand Terminal was having to reconcile the marketing need for a clear ‘glass box’ to showcase the Audi vehicles and the functional demands of having to transport the car in situ. This meant maintaining the integrity of the pillarless showcase design as it elegantly resolved the brand language, functional and logistic concerns in an innovative way. We were able to address this challenge as follows:
Spending the time up-front of the development process
By having the experts in-house and by putting the time and rigour into the early phases of the concept development, design development and engineering phases, we ensured that the design integrity was maintained throughout the project. Importantly, this saved us considerable cost and development headaches later on during the build process as it minimised the faults and glitches in the execution of the concept.
This was particularly evident when the pressure to reduce cost seemed to force our hand towards less visually appealing but cheaper solutions (such as inserting extra pillars or thickening wall sections). As such, we managed to deliver the finished product looking almost the same as the original concept presented to the client.
Maintaining the quality cues appropriate to the brand given a tight budget was another major challenge, and as with any project that is of an innovative nature we were often in ‘unchartered waters’. Therefore, we often had to approach challenges in new ways. Utilising experts in a number of different disciplines allowed us the freedom to look outside the use of conventional materials and suppliers, thus allowing us to create around the concept rather than rely on the expertise of a particular manufacturer or build constraint.
Some success stories include customising agricultural grate for high-heel shoe proof flooring, finding off-the-shelf light box components from Germany normally used by professional photographers and even designing customised hinges for the 450kg remote control door.
In terms of sales generated it is still too early to tell due to the Brand Terminal’s relatively recent completion, however as a marketing and awareness tool the Audi Brand Terminal has been an incredible success.
After its first public appearance it was picked up by the press and has featured on blogs all over the world. However, to really evaluate the success of the Audi Brand Terminal, we need to look at it not as a short-term awareness campaign but an investment in a brand asset that will keep on entertaining and engaging audiences for years to come.