Integrated campaign: Audi puts $8 million behind A4

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Audi of America, aiming for an aggressive sales hike, is putting an $8 million newspaper, national TV and Internet campaign behind its best seller.

The Volkswagen of America unit is counting on A4 to help it hit 95,000 in total vehicle sales this year, up 10,000 from 2002.

Havas' McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., created a pair of :30s that broke last week on national cable networks, including CNN, ESPN, CNBC, Bravo, A&E and Fox News Channel. The spots will air on cable for a month and on local spot TV for four months.

One compares an A4 driver to his neighbor with a competitive German car. Both men leave their houses at the same time. But the rival-car owner is seen preening in his rear-view mirror, allowing the A4 owner to leave his driveway sooner because he merely adjusts the mirror to check rear visibility. A title card linked to Audi's site asks "Are you an A4 driver?"

The Web site offers an A4 microsite with a "chemistry" quiz of 10 tongue-in-check questions in an "Are you an A4 driver?" survey. Each question has two answers. One is: "What is existentialism?" The answers are: "I have no idea but I play along ..." and "I am the master of existentialism." McKinney and Enlighten, Ann Arbor, Mich., created the A4 microsite.

David Baldwin, executive creative director of McKinney, said, "We wanted to show our cars and the mind-set of our owners and attract that kind of person," who Audi defines as intelligent and innovative.

National Ad Manager Mary Ann Wilson said Audi wants to bolster its bread-and-butter car. "Sometimes we tend to move from model to model" in advertising at Audi, she said.

Of the 85,726 cars Audi sold in the U.S. last year, 44,319 were A4s, according to Ad Age sibling Automotive News.

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