Audi’s first local brand campaign signals intent to over-take rivals

The launch of Audi Australia’s first ever locally-produced campaign signals the German auto-maker’s plan to overtake rivals in the premium car space by 2020, and includes an innovative digital execution that allows viewers to edit their own TVC.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle unveiled the company’s vision at a press event in the Northern Territory at the weekend for the launch of the ‘Land of Quattro’ global marketing campaign, on which the company is spending $3 million in media and production costs.

Previous brand campaigns for the German car-maker have rested on global creative, but a change in global marketing personnel has resulted in ‘Land of Quattro’ being instigated by headquarters to be interpreted and produced locally in each market.

In Australia, Audi has worked with its newly-appointed agency Holler to produce a campaign combining TV, social media, state-by-state print and out-of-home advertising, and an innovative digital execution that allows the public to ‘remix’ the TVC to direct their own commercial.

Filmed using remote-controlled helicopters equipped with GoPro cameras, the platform can theoretically result in millions of combinations of location, activity and camera angle. Each film must contain mandatory elements such as the opening shot, the signature ‘heartbeat’ sound effect and the ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ brand slogan (which roughly translates to ‘advancement through technology’), while about 80% of the ad is customisable.

Editable TVC

The film judged the best will be aired nationally in prime time on 29 September with the maker’s name credited, as well as scoring the winner flights to Germany for a tour of Audi HQ and a three-day ‘ice drive’ experience in the Austrian alps.

General manager of marketing, Kevin Goult, takes care to emphasise that Audi, obviously not a local brand, is not asserting a claim to the country: “We’re not making claim to the land, we’re making a claim to adventure,” he says. The aim, Goult says, is to connect Audi’s strengths with the pride Australians have in their country and lifestyle.

It’s the first time the global company has allowed each market to produce its own brand campaign, with the previous extent of localisation being confined to retail material and translating creative from German to English.

The national TVC aired last night, with print and out-of-home media to roll out in the coming fortnight. Billboard advertising will use custom creative for each state, and online advertising will also feature heavily as part of the campaign.

OOH Melbourne

A sponsorship deal with National Geographic aims to highlight the brand’s connection with Australia, as does utilising local ambassadors such as Richard Roxburgh and Asher Keddie.

Experiential elements of the campaign comprise invitation-only events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to test drive cars in warehouses converted to indoor terrains.

The ‘Australia. Land of Quattro’ campaign is a key aspect of Audi Australia’s vision to overtake BMW and Mercedes Benz to become leader of the ‘premium’ category by sales volume within the next seven years.

Since 2005 the brand has been making up ground on category leader Mercedes Benz and second-placed BMW, and now represents 76% and 82% by sales volume, respectively.

Doyle says the plan is to become the leader in a market that now numbers more than 1.1 million cars. “We’re hot on their heels. We have a plan to catch [our competitors]. The marketplace is extremely competitive. We’re planning to grow share. We see strong opportunities in the SUV category and increased opportunities in the A-segment.

“Our plan is that by 2020 we’ll definitely be number one in the marketplace,” he says.

$50 million of investment in the company’s dealer network will see 37 dealers in operation by the end of this year, including new locations in key regional centres Wollongong and Toowoomba and upgrades of flagship properties in Sydney and Melbourne.