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Vampire Super Bowl Ad Puts Teeth in Audi U.S. Strategy

Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2012 03:25 PM

When a brand that has trailblazed Super Bowl advertising for an entire industry switches up and does something different with its approach to the latest Big Game, the shift merits notice. And fortunately for Audi of America, not only its new strategy for the Super Bowl but also the ad itself — "So Long Vampires" and its accompanying #solongvampires Twitter hashtag and Facebook push — has attracted attention.

The difference: In Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Audi touted a specific technology rather than the "new luxury" positioning that it used in highly resonant Super Bowl ads the previous four years. The change stems from the conviction of brand executives that Audi of America largely has succeeded in establishing its brand chops in the U.S. market versus BMW and Mercedes-Benz. They wanted to pivot to make an important albeit narrower case.

Brand executives are pleased by the ad's ranking in the USA Today post-game ad poll: No. 9 most popular overall and No. 4 of spots fielded by auto brands. But that's only part of the story. "Our Super Bowl ads in the past tend to have been major statements about putting the marketplace on notice, and sometimes we've evoked larger conversations," Loren Angelo, general manager of brand marketing for Audi of America, told brandchannel.

Those ads have included 2011's "Release the Hounds" spot in which Audi separated itself from "old luxury" brands like Mercedes-Benz, and Audi's 2010 "Green Police" spoof (below) that made the case for diesel powertrains as an environmental boon. Audi also helped kick off the recent stampede of auto brands into the Super Bowl by returning to Big Game advertising in 2008 after being away for 20 years.

This year, Angelo said, "we wanted to try something a little bit different, on what we felt is a signature element that Audi has come to stand for" — LED headlights — "and something we thought we could build an entertaining story around." Such a narrower focus "wouldn't have been the case a few years ago."

And yet, he added, Audi of America was mindful of the breadth of the Super Bowl audience and wanted to ensure that its ad spoke to as wide a swath as possible, not just to the slice who can afford to be customers for the new S7. Thus the vampire theme, about which individuals tend to have some convictions — or at least interest. "We wanted to make sure both our target audience and the general consumer understood what we were saying," Angelo said. "We wanted to underscore that we're a very relevant brand."

One indicator of Audi's relevance: this year's Super Bowl spot has already racked up more than 6.1 million views on YouTube, while last year's spot has 2.4 million.

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