Friday, May 22, 2009

My marketing idea for Audi: advergaming that people can play on digital billboards

It has been a week that I have not posted anything and for that I am sorry. I have been working on my class assignement. We had to choose a brand and market it in a way which was not possible 5 years ago. Here are the results:

Here is the paper I gave in (email me your comments):


We will see that Audi is a very innovative company that delivers great designed cars. This innovation has also been in its marketing and hence it is perfectly adapted for the new campaign that I am suggesting. We will see the importance of “advertainment” and “advergame” which should encourage Audi to seriously think about launching a free Audi car chase game that everybody could play with, and even customizing the different cars. The opportunities of interactivity with digital billboard will allow players with cell phones to compete on giant billboard in public place which will create some buzz. We will also rely on other tactics which will be explored later in this paper to create some buzz for the game.



Audi was founded by August Horch in 1909. He chose to call it Audi because it was the Latin translation of his name, meaning listening. He could not use his name because it was used by another firm for which he had worked before and sued him to stop using its name. In 1932, Auto Union AG was created by the merger of the 4 following companies: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. It was at the time the second biggest car manufacturer in Germany and the four inter-linked rings of Audi dates back from that time to symbolize the 4 different companies. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union took control of the company, pushing the founders to the West. The first car produced after the war in the West was in 1965 and to emphasis the change, the Audi brand was used. It has been used ever since. “Vorsprung durch Technik” meaning "Advantage through Technology" has been the brand statement for decades. It recognizes the importance of technical excellence but also the emotional importance linked to design. Sport and performance are characteristics associated with the Audi brand.
Audi has always tried to appeal to the emotional side of consumers whether with the Audi TT which has a unique design or the A8 filled with innovative technologies. All Audi cars are a testament to the brand’s passion of design and technology.


Audi is not only creative in the development of its car but also in the development of its marketing. Audi teamed up with London design agency Jam to produce a range of furniture from Audi car parts. The collection included a chairs made from interlaced seat belts. They also used a computer-generated Bull in a rodeo scenario to demonstrate the performance if the new Audi S4 Quattro. In 2003, Audi UK managed the most important outdoor marketing campaign for the launch of the Audi A8 which consisted of covering 80 landmark buildings in advertising. It also launched a TV campaign of reminding the first of Audi, with the tagline “First after First after First”. To sum it up, Audi has a history of innovation not only in car manufacturing but also marketing making.



The average person in a country with an advanced/rich economy is hit with so many ads in a day that it has become less and less effective because their sheer numbers. With TiVo, which deletes the ads automatically when recording your favorite programs, marketers are facing even a greater technological challenge. To be listened to, marketers need to be creative and respect the consumers. Instead of pushing sales pitches like advertising most often do, they should respect the consumer and adopt more discrete or intrusive approaches such as product placement in a video game. Yet, the video game can also become the ad and since consumers are looking for companies that will entertain them, smart marketers will see the value that they will gain by entertaining them. Then you don’t need to seek consumers’ attention as a marketer; they will look for you (which cost you nothing) because of what you have to offer them. That is a different way than the traditional marketing way of ads or mailing.


There are many advantages of games. The most important are the capability to attract prospects, expose them to branding messages, collect their data and subscribe them to mailing lists when possible.

Alex St. John, CEO and cofounder of Redmond, Wash.-based Wild Tangent, a 3-year-old interactive media company, thinks that "Games are a media type" and "In fact, they are more effective at marketing than any other media type that has existed before."

A recent study by gaming company Blockdot found that “83% think positively about companies that underwrite the free games while 70% said they are more likely to buy products from companies that offer the free games.” (

“Of the 244 million U.S. online consumers, more than half, 144 million, are gamers, according to a study commissioned by IGN Entertainment, a unit of Fox Interactive Media. The medium has pulled in a new crop of gamers, with a majority of them married (55%) and nearly half (48%) with children, according to the study, released today. The average game player is 32 years old with an average household income of $79,000.” (

Because of all these reasons, Audi should create a free game that allows people to experience what it is to drive an Audi and have fun at it by competing with friends. The game should allow people to feel the technological advantage of driving an Audi car. It is by bringing value to the consumers through free applications such as games that Audi will be recognized as a brand that can be respected and valued.

Google Street view

If technology allows it, Audi should base its game’s surrounding on Google Street View so that it is more of a real life scenario than a fiction game. It would allow people to feel the experience of driving an Audi to the realest possible, so that they would try it in their neighborhood, yet with all its technological power which would be legal in real life. That is the advantage of basing the game’s environment on the Google Street View: realism & authenticity. People can relate much easily and they can also decide to test their customized car in an ideal location where they haven’t yet been such as New York, but that they would like to go to just to know how fun it is to drive an Audi there.

Permission Marketing

The advantage of having a free game in which people can drive customized cars that you produce is that they are willing to play the game. You are not bothering them by selling them your product. You are not seen as another annoying advertising message. You are not interrupting their lifestyle so that they have to listen to you. The term “Permission Marketing” has been created by Seth Godin to describe just that.

On the contrary, you get the permission of collecting the person’s data (age, sex…) in return of allowing him to play the game and know how it feels to drive an Audi – or how nearest to reality it does feel. The target sees the value and we get easy permission. One of the other advantages of the game is that they will often play more than once, so that we get repetitive exposure – for free.

Target Audience

The target audience of this game is not the same as the typical person who is going to buy an Audi car. Why not? Because just as the Porsche ad with a little kid going into a dealership asking for the dealer’s business car and telling him “see you in about 20 years”, and the ad closes with the line “there is the moment you know want one, there is the moment you first own one, and for the truly afflicted, there is the decade or two that passes in between”. Audi needs to give people the want to have their car. This campaign is not based on increase sales on short term. On the contrary, this campaign focuses on the long term and hence targets from teenagers (who will one day become consumers themselves) to professional adults who will enjoy the fact that the brand offers them free entertainment with all its models. These adults will probably want to go to a dealership to try the cars themselves. It is a more patient advertising strategy and therefore the target audience is broader.

Cell phones

Most people don’t use their cell phones only for calling anymore but also for a variety of application, games being one of them. They have become more famous than any other gaming portable player such as the old Nintendo Gameboy. People will be able to play the game on cell phones – whether on Linux, Microsoft or Apple supported software. You could send friends through text message or Bluetooth the game. It will allow it to become viral more easily through “Peer to Peer” sharing which is the advantage of giving them the “ownership” of it.

Digital Billboard

The game will be available for download from digital billboard through Wireless or Bluetooth technology to a cell phone. The digital billboards will either be underground or in the street and will be selected for the number of people watching it. The billboard could play a simulated game with a customized Audi and welcome people to download the game to try them for free. The advantage of the underground/tube is that people are waiting, so they might as well do entertaining themselves while waiting. Audi is giving them a slice of entertainment during their day – for free. Thanks to this game, they will be able to know the virtual experience of driving an Audi car and hopefully want to try in real at a dealership – where the sales representative will then have a hot lead walking in.

In addition to being able to download the game, users will also be able to play against one another to see who it the fastest in Audi cars of course. Imagine the billboard at Piccadilly Circus were ten people have they head in the air looking at the screen and competing against each other. It will for sure attract a crowd to not only know who is winning the competition but also just the fun of watching people play from a cell phone on a giant outdoor billboard.

Google Map

People will be able to look up on Google Map where the digital billboards rented by Audi are located in which they can play in public from their cell phone and compete with friends or strangers. As it may change according to how much it costs for Audi to rent these digital billboards and to get more hits, it is important for Audi to mark on Google Map where it is possible for people to play in public with their cool designed cars. The Google Map doted with all the digital billboard will be integrated into the website dedicated for this campaign (maybe simply called the Audi Game website).

Social Networking

This same game will also be available on social networking such as Facebook. Friends will be able to see how many points you scored on the game and which customized Audi you choose to drive. It will give your friends the urge to try the free driving game and test themselves against you. It might also create a buzz in the online community. The Peer pressure is very efficient and they are much better than salesmen to talk about a brand. Therefore, Audi really needs to take advantage of all the new social networking websites and integrate its game into it.

YouTube Channel

Audi should keep inform of upgrade of the game through its own YouTube channel. The advantage is that people can easily subscribe to it, and Audi will collect email with the permission to communicate to them. In addition, Audi could favorite other videos of people who talk about how to improve the game so that the sensations of driving an Audi are enhanced.


It is important that Audi targets influencers in the cyber world related to cars and games. When launching the game, they should be the first to be invited as the best and most effective way to launch such advergame is word of mouth marketing. For that, Audi needs to find the most famous bloggers on the net in the related subjects of cars and games, and give them a peek into the game before the official launch so that they feel valued and talk about it – which creates buzz.


Audi has tremendous value to gain by offering a free game that allows people to experience to the nearest possible what it is to drive an Audi car. Users can customize them before driving them and they will easily see the value offered at them to not test it. If technology allows it, replicating the environment of Google Street View will allow the d├ęcor to be even more realistic, enhancing the user’s experience. As its tagline “advantage through technology” says it best, Audi will get a competitive advantage by displaying its model virtually and allowing users to appropriate them. Then Audi might finally overpass its historical competitors which are Mercedes and BMW.


Seth Godin (1999), Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers Simon & Schuster