AUDI SETS BIG MARKETING PUSH FOR COUPE: TV KICKS OFF IN MAY FOR $25 MILLION EFFORT BACKING TT

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Audi of America could sell every new TT coupe it imports this year without advertising, said VP Len Hunt. But the car will get a $25 million integrated marketing push anyway, with TV spots starting May 17.

"The car is the perfect expression of brand Audi," he said, representing passion and technology. "It is the inspirational proof of technology and freedom."

The new coupe doesn't need advertising because it's a spectacular car with limited availability, agreed James Hall, VP-industry analysis at consultancy AutoPacific.

"The TT is going to sell on its very aggressive styling, and it's probably going to draw people out of other cars in other segments," he said, noting the TT's appeal will increase after Audi introduces two new versions, a convertible and a 225-horsepower Quattro version, later this year.

EMOTION IN ADVERTISING

Mr. Hunt, in his new post as head of Audi of America since January, has made good on his pledge to add emotion to future Audi advertising. McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., created a trio of thoughtful, arty spots showing a parked TT near water, near a desert and at a foggy dawn.

Voice-over for the TV advertising is introspective, saying such things as "it's time I traveled lighter" and "made up for the seriousness of my youth."

Among the headlines on print ads: "Women will smile. Men will weep. Dogs will beg for rides."

Richard Myracle, exec VP at McKinney, said the ads "aren't about selling, but make a statement about what Audi is. The advertising has to be as pure and beautiful as the car."

UNUSUAL EXECUTIONS

The executions are unusual for a performance car, he added, because the TT is parked in all the ads, not zooming on a winding road.

The media flight extends through June. Then the ads will go into a rotation with other Audi ads.

Audi expects to sell roughly 4,000 TTs this year, and 10,000 of the cars in 2000, said Mr. Hunt, who is shooting for more than 60,000 unit sales brand-wide this year.

The marketer spent $73.1 million in measured media in 1998, according to

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