Paper Toys – by Audi and BMW

Besides gaming, automotive brands are using their magazines and social media to engage their owners kids as well.

Audi Magazine

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Audi USA provides a special ‘Audi kids’ space’ on their official website where visitors can download the A3 Cut-outs and also shop Audi collection. The cutouts can be downloaded as PDFs and also torn from the last page of the Audi Magazine delivered to the owners.

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Besides Audi A3 Cut-out, there is also a cut-out to appeal to the racing fans and engage kids by providing them with assets to tell their own story.

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BMW – Personalized Paper Toy

BMW Brasil has an improved version to that of the Audi, where the car can be personalized in terms of the name, colors and wheels. All the user has to do is add a name and make the selection to generate an instantly downloadable PDF.

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Even though BMW Brasil provides a personalized cut-out version, it does not clearly specify which model it is. That is a missed opportunity to create some familiarity with the kids at a young age and already capture their minds.

BMW Germany however adds additional value targeting probably 10 years and older with printable board games, student plans and coloring books.

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However, both the examples are interesting and simple providing the time-poor parents a quick take out. BMW also acts responsible here by not promoting their products only in gaming, to which many parents are opposed and add strict time tables to play video games, but also creating loyalty and expressing ‘Family Care’ in a very subtle way. This also helps them to tap into audience who will probably never play video games and not get enough screen time on TV, iPods and Tablets until after a certain age.

Audi lights up New York for the World Cup

Audi USA has done it yet again. The ‘it’ here is ‘a simple thought that goes a long way’.

Top global brands are fighting for their share of attention during this World Cup and to leverage the millions of eye balls and attention on this global event, Audi USA did not simply book an out-of-home just like many other sponsors and other non-sponsors-football-enthusiastic brands. They made a really clever move and also a bold one, considering that football is not a mainstream sport in the USA.

Audi put 28 of their A8 models in 45 shipping containers stacked next to each other at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York and used their LED lights to reflect the football World Cup game scores.

It’s placement is such a clever idea as the Manhattan highway is pretty far on the other side. What a simple and clever way to show or ‘show-off’ their LED technology reflecting the score for the New Yorkers on the other side.

One tiny improvement in this idea would have been to permanently show a ‘hashtag’ e.g. AudiLED to get people to share the scores online, talk about the LED lights and spread the word online and win a test-drive at night to experience the power of the LED lights. Of course people will talk about it, so why not give them a hashtag and do more with it.

Nevertheless, awesome idea. Awesome brand. And how cool for the German brand Audi to promote Team USA for the game today.

Follow the game on Twitter with hashtag   and find out more about the AUDI LED technology on http://www.audiusa.com/innovation/design/LED

Porsche Blind Trade

Porsche ‘Blind Trade’ does not guarantee a Porsche for everyone. That’s the dare. So are people brave enough to let go of their current luxury car and blind trade it for a possibility to get a Porsche? Yes, seems  like there are many of them out there. Internet tells me around 2000+ people traded-in their car in the first few hours only, gambling to win a Porsche.

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The campaign microsite reveals a new feature of the Porsche every 2 days and will be live for at least 3 weeks until the reveal – announcing the winner on the 31st March’14 who will proudly walk away with a brand new Porsche and converted into a loyal customer on that very day.

The site is in Dutch only and because I can understand some Dutch, I am able to navigate around and it is pretty simple. Not many pages and simple user interface. Social search is also optimised and there is good background music as well. Even though the site has really dark colors as opposed to the white and clean look and feel of Porsche, a fine and intact design like this with minimum call-to-actions and an interactive user experience do the job just right to deliver a premium luxury website experience. Check it out for yourself on http://www.porscheblindtrade.nl/

 

Audi Test Drive Cube – A digital innovation

Finally a brand found a really clever way to break through the usual direct mailers with long copy inviting prospects to a test-drive. And it is none other than Audi. I am not surprised actually because Audi has been doing some great work lately.

Audi came up with a clever idea to send ‘Test Drive Cubes’ for Audi A8. All the receiver needs to do is push the start/stop button and trigger the countdown to begin the test drive. The Cube is powered by GPS and sends an SMS to Audi local dealership with location details. The countdown lasts for 90 minutes, at the end of which the Audi A8 arrives at the prospect’s location and customers then have 24 hours to take the test drive.

This pilot was launched in Holland between Jan’14 and Feb’14 to 50 potential A8 buyers. Audi plans to extend it to Germany followed by Russia and South Korea.

What a clever way to instill a digital sense in direct mailing by way of using technology just at a push of a button. It is not only the mechanism but also the design of the cube that holds the simplicity in the technology used together. The design of the Cube is neat, premium and a sophisticated piece of communication representing the brand values. It is always great to see brands who think things through and take the pain to convince their internal stakeholders to do such projects. Surely it must have been expensive not only in terms of development but also in terms of logistics and maintenance. Good work Audi, another star in the marketing hall of fame!

The official press release from Audi can be read here http://www.audi.com/content/com/brand/en/vorsprung_durch_technik/content/2014/01/a8-test-drive.html

Why I respect Audi for their recent efforts.

A deep thought based on my own experience and that of my close friends in the advertising and digital industry makes me want to clap and declare Hans Thurner and Floris Dreesman the two men our industry needs to thank today. Rather than criticizing the Audi City experiment.

Audi understands what digital means. So what is digital?

Let’s keep this one short. Digital marketing is using electronic devices to engage with customers. Fact is that many brands just stopped here and are still learning to create presentations to educate their co-workers on what is digital. Just look closely, we are surrounded by digital. Everything has gone digital. Digital is not just online. TV is digital (Shazam TV tags, GetGlue and Viggle). Print is digital (QR codes, Blippar and AR tags). Experiential is digital and Audi has landed there with a crown.

Audi is able to connect to their target audience by investing in online and offline experiences that are meaningful, fun and provide a benefit. Sometimes even just fun to have a good time and participate in love for cars. Cool cars.

Audi – Print is digital

It somehow says ….I will not bore you with a lead management link to tell you to go online. You will do it because this film is so bloody awesome that even if you don’t like cars, the sound of this will make you want to talk about it, share it and read more about it.

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On scanning this ad with Blippar, you see this beautiful film, a sneak peak at what this beast is up to roaring away in madness.

Audi Online experience – For Fun

#WantAnR8 contest is the third one by Audi and this time on Tumblr because they wanted to turn up the game here. Their target audience are getting smarter, using sophisticated technology and becoming natural at participating in initiatives online. A really clever move here to move away from the norms like Facebook and Twitter and use the Tumblr’s freedom of theme & functionality to create a fun filled online experience.

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Audi offer about 40 short clips and 10 audio effects to let users create their own Audi R8 story. This video is then hosted on their YouTube page to house user-generated content. It just does not stop here. A part of this exercise is also to learn what a majority of customers prefer, what angles they like to see in videos and what sort of audio energy is desired. Audi has not used any paid media to push the campaign and generated about 100 submissions in just first 5 hours of launch followed by 200 in the first 4 days. Not bad at all for an organic growth.

I must say I spent about 40 minutes trying to create an awesome clip and absolutely enjoyed every little part of it. Audi did not push me in the end to rush me to their site and try to sell any other models, if not the R8. I was intrigued enough to swim around for some information on V10 and just read up. But if I were to buy in the near future a V10 beast, I will remember to check Audi out and recommend it to interested sports car buyers.

Audi Online Experience – For use

Audi has extended the success of the A1 eKurzinfo app to A3 models. The A3 app helps the drivers to learn more about their car via visualizations rather than boring A3 bible manuals! It provides them instant access to detailed step by step information on how to complete particular tasks. e.g. how to locate the engine coolant. This is definitely useful for the first-time buyers who have poor knowledge on technical topics that are good to know about their car. Of course, there are inductions held to understand your own vehicle but we forget these over time and instant access available to such data is reassuring.

The app recognises more than 300 elements of A3 and reflects all the data saved in cloud-based architecture. It is currently available in English, German and Japanese on the Apple Store.

That was the customer service going digital. Online. Now what about offline.

Audi Experiential

Here they have shaken things up with Audi City Showroom. The first virtual showroom without any cars. I have already blogged about it when they launched it but was lucky enough to visit RTT Excite 2013 in Munich where I was delighted to attend the presentation by Hans Thurner and Floris Dreesman on Audi City.

Why I respect Audi so much today?

Well 200 people at Audi and 70 of their partner agencies have been sweating it out to change the automotive buying behaviour. While still producing their online banners and Facebook applications that some think are digital gods of this online space, Audi is investing time and efforts to change all that you think you know about selling cars online or offline. They are capturing the whole universe around it making customers dependable on them and these new technologies making yours redundant in the next 2 years. Today you are developing dealer tool kits killing trees printing massive old skool stuff, Audi and even BMW are using digital to sort data and virtualise all that jazz on a sheet of paper, making it come alive and hit your senses. Tablets are the future.

I fail to grasp how automotive employees criticize a concept like Audi City. The frustration of our generation is about following old school rules coming in the way of doing what our generation wants to see, wants to be and wants to show. We want to create it because we want to use that.

Remember what Ferdinand Porsche said I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.

Car configurators – can we ever get it right?

‘Irritating’

…..That’s the word I am sure Steve Jobs would have used to define ‘Car Configurators’.

Car Configurators and their problem online

I simply fail to understand why car brands investing so much time & resources in their products fail to do the same on their websites and also on what we call ‘lead generation’ tools online. Innovation – it is what everybody is talking about and showing off in their products but why is it only there? Why cannot innovation be taken solely from the point of the birth of an idea without an end to it. You create a beautiful product and leave it out there to die a slow death online at the mercy of UX. It is certainly very time consuming and painful to innovate a product but for god sake when it comes to marketing online, we have tools and talent available at a much less margin of that price you invested in making a great product. But the sad truth on a majority of configurators is –

They. do. not. deliver.

Neither on desktop. Nor on mobile. Forget about dealerships touch points online, that is another story where Audi and BMW are trying to set some benchmarks here to lead the industries.

Recently I spotted a decent enough effort by Audi to show some edge in car configurators. The revamp of their US site is a huge step forward and their recent initiative of showing a ‘Car Park’ online with the real-time configurations takes it to a really exciting level. Is ‘Truth in Engineering’ being taken a bit too seriously here by Audi? Yes may be. We will see more such inspiring stuff hopefully in years to come and then as soon as it becomes a standard, we will see something else. Better. Faster. Stronger!

Currently, a perfect car configurator is an unclaimed territory where there is still room to shine. Lots of it. Audi has built a car park online out of it.

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But why automotive? Why is the car buying behavior or online purchase decision making suffering when they are backed by such solid funding and large scale investments.

Take a look at Nike iD configurator. Of course a shoe is not as complex as a car but at the end of the day Nike try to serve a shopping tool online to ‘simplify decision making and help our customers to personalize the product’ and make their own.

It looks amazing on the site, clean – clear – simple – fast and a good design compatible with desktop and mobile,

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A car configuration would have a lot more steps compared to a shoe but a good design will eliminate the monotony of going through numerous steps and add excitement to personalization process even more.

The best car configurator in my opinion ever made was done by Bugatti for Veyron and is unfortunately offline now. As you can see below how neat and clean the UX was and built specifically for Veyron.

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There are some decent configurators and they all work but do they deliver in terms of shopping experience, personality and design? I cannot think of any and this Bugatti Veyron one was done way back in 2008 and still stands tall.

Audi: R8 Blippar print ad & RS 4 Avant Ultimate Paintball Duel

Audi is up to no good at the moment because good does not exist in their vocabulary! It begins with ‘best’ – the benchmark is how to be better than the best.

Audi is shaking things up in UK and this could be really good for the advertising and digital industry in the UK right now. We need brands that can act as leaders and shake things up in the digital space for sure. Enough of the same old giants like Coca-Cola, Skittles, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Diesel, etc.

Audi has revved up their print ad using Blippar image-recognition app for their new Audi R8 V10. The online teaser is one of the most beautiful and seductive teasers I have seen in a while.

It leaves the viewer curious and intrigued to discover the main film, which can be unlocked using Blippar mobile application over the following Audi R8 print ad. This is actually useful as the user unlocks hidden content i.e. available only via scanning the app!

Audi_R8

The content loads fairly quickly and the full video is even more beautiful and gives you a sneak peak of the Audi R8 lab, super awesome and the R8 is roaring like a beast, waiting to unleash itself on the road.

This print ad using Blippar is a step up from the usual QR code norm that was gradually adapted by the markets and is getting outdated with such Blippar and Augmented Reality applications. Such progress of print ads from a leading brand like Audi helps our industry since we are still struggling with marketers/decision makers who are not confident in making the first move and budget is the second enemy. But I strongly believe that if you believe in the idea, then you get the budget – it just appears all of a sudden! We need such hits to shake the norms, to live the Facebook mantra of ‘Move fast and break things’.

As an extra, enjoy this ultimate Paintball Duel by Audi where two RS 4 Avants are playing like two young lads, having the time of their life!

The set is beautiful, super bright, great direction and awesome paintball moves!

Bravo Audi! A massive respect for continuous creativity and investment in not only their products, but also in tailor made campaigns for each model which help strengthen the positioning of the vehicle.