Almost No Escaping Audi Ads in Inauguration Coverage

Sponsorships Span Broadcast Networks, Newspapers, Websites to Reach More Than 50 Million

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Americans following today's inauguration coverage will find it almost impossible to miss Audi of America, which blanketed the event with sponsorships to reach more than 50 million people.

Audi is the sole sponsor of The Atlantic's website today.
Audi is the sole sponsor of The Atlantic's website today.
Yes, Audi -- a German automaker -- is the presenting sponsor of the evening broadcasts that will recap the swearing in of Barack Obama on ABC, CBS, NBC and numerous streamed video of the event online.

"The uncommon shared experience of the inauguration offered a remarkable opportunity to connect with Americans," said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer of Audi of America. He said the company is communicating the "inherent spirit of progress and innovation that is the core of our corporate DNA" by sponsoring this historic day's news.

Audi said each of the broadcast TV networks it is sponsoring will have limited commercial interruption and combined will reach 19 million viewers. Audi was also the exclusive sponsor of the streaming broadcasts on major news sites including ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, MSNBC.com and Washingtonpost.com. The brand bought a full-day sponsorship of Slate.com and is the sole sponsor of The Atlantic's website today. The automaker said those moves will reach more than 30 million people.

Exclusive sponsor
The marketer is also the exclusive sponsor of a special eight-page newspaper section called "Progress is beautiful" in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and other major dailies, reaching 8.6 million readers. On its own website, Audi flagged the "Progress is beautiful" message with "Progress moves forward Jan. 20."

Audi has been aggressively trying to grow its brand in the U.S., and Mr. Keogh told Advertising Age the brand will spend 15% more on advertising in 2009 compared with 2008.

This will be Audi's second year on the Super Bowl. Mr. Keogh said this year's 60-second spot from independent Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco, will feature the supercharged A6 and will air in the third commercial break of the first quarter. He declined to reveal details; however, on its website today, Audi invites viewers to "participate in progress" by signing up to preview the upcoming Super Bowl commercial.

The marketer also will advertise on ABC's broadcast of the Academy Awards this year.

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