CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR: Audi "The Art of the Heist"

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'Art of the Heist' participants
'Art of the Heist' participants
When people call Audi's "Art of the Heist" campaign an alternate reality game or interactive marketing, it puts the work into a box that it's a little big for. As a matter of fact, what makes the campaign, from McKinney + Silver and Campfire, the best of the year, is that it defies boxes altogether. Featuring live events, online puzzles and films, print and broadcast ads and guerrilla tactics, the campaign was, as 500,000 participants experienced over the course of four months, a sprawling bit of work that blended compelling fiction and suspenseful reality in the form of its theft and retrieval plot, ultimately increasing online interest in the A3 by 79 percent, according to the agency.

"It was quite different from anything done before," says Campfire EP Steve Wax. "It was very much like making a feature or a TV series." Directors and writers Mike Monello and Brian Clark worked with producers in real time, coordinating events around the country involving web films and actors, all the while adhering to a loose story arc that shifted according to audience responses. "It's a wonderful example of giving consumers control," says McKinney ECD David Baldwin. "The consumers have always been in control of the brand, but this is actually making them a part of the communications." As for what they dub this type of work, "We've tried calling it a 'living movie,' " says Baldwin."But right now I prefer calling it a conversation with Audi customers."
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