Audi hopes PR, social media tactics extend Super Bowl spot

HERNDON, VA: Audi of America is using social media tactics to build buzz for its Super Bowl advertising spot, focused around a message about clean diesel and its Audi A3 TDI, which was named "Green Car of the Year."

HERNDON, VA: Audi of America is using social media tactics to build buzz for its Super Bowl advertising spot, focused around a message about clean diesel and its Audi A3 TDI, which was named "Green Car of the Year." The company's "Green Police" campaign features traditional PR and social media, all based on its humorous commercial.

"This is our third year of being in the Super Bowl, and we've seen the importance of social media pre-Super Bowl rise in importance each and every year," said Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi of America. "We do want to build awareness and recognition around this diesel cause that we think is very important."

The German-founded company beat out both Honda and Toyota hybrids in December at the LA auto show to capture the "Green Car of the Year" title for the A3 TDI, which has a EPA highway fuel economy rating of 42mpg. Earlier messaging around the car included a tag line of, "Diesel, It's no longer a dirty word."

Another goal for the current campaign is to gain enough momentum so that consumers and the media are still talking about Audi's Super Bowl ad after the big game.

The automaker teamed up with rock band Cheap Trick to create a song for the campaign, "Green Police," based on the band's original "Dream Police," which is currently on Cheap Trick's Web site and Facebook page. Audi will also tease the actual ad spots with humorous PSAs leading up to the Super Bowl on February 7, using its YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Working with PMK-BNC, Audi also incorporated traditional PR elements, targeting influential journalists at events like the Detroit Auto Show, and hosting a TDI driving event, where sports journalists and athletes will drive the car down to Miami for the game, tracking their progress on Facebook and Twitter.

"Public relations is just as important, in this example, as the spot itself and the marketing," Keogh said. "We have a wonderful spot, but this is where you get the secondary and tertiary benefits. It's not just who has seen the spot, but it is the PR impressions, plus the social media lift that you get."

While Audi previewed the ad spot for several influencers, one blogger noted that the term "Green Police" was also associated with Nazi persecution. While that comment was picked up by other outlets covering the campaign, Keogh downplayed the negative impact.

"I think that is a message from one blogger and when you think out in the world, the green in Green Police really is a universally understood term for the environmental movement," he said. "We don't really see that [as a problem]."


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