CAMPAIGNS: Second Opinion

Martin Ballantine is joint MD/creative director of Revolver Communications.

He has worked on PR campaigns for a variety of automotive clients, including Daimler Chrysler and the launch of Proton's Lotus-engineered GTI.

According to one poll, a lot of people believe Rolf Harris was responsible for one of Monet's best known works...but I bet none of them were Audi drivers. If you believe the marketing, there is a fair amount of grey matter in an Audi owner's brain.

In my opinion, that has got to mean the car giant's target market could never buy into an association with Rolf Harris. Yes, I know he's big in 'serious' art circles now, but so is a transvestite potter.

However, I think the team at Clayton Graham Communications did a good job in getting both clients and press along to a pretty dull location - you can call it an 'Experience Centre' all you like, but it is still a car showroom.

The team also did a great job securing that all-important, broader-based, 'lifestyle' coverage. For a brand such as Audi, that's got to be more important than bog-standard auto-section pieces. It was able to secure coverage in titles, such as Uptown, that wouldn't normally touch a car showroom story. You'd expect auto publications to write about it, but these aren't necessarily the key titles for what is essentially an upmarket lifestyle brand.

This campaign established a link with the arts and generated cuttings and sales, but what has the association with Rolf done for Audi's image?

What would happen next if 'Audi+Rolf' continued? This project feels like a quick 'hit', not something that was strategically or creatively spot-on for the long-term perspective. While I know time pressures can sometimes mean we all have to cut corners, I'm not totally convinced linking with the man who shamelessly sang Doo Wah Didgeri is the way to do it.

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