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Audi’s online A4 Driving Challenge isn’t exactly driving home its brand promise

Audi is a great brand. Friends and colleagues who drive Audis love them for the entirety of the brand experience, from the way the car performs, to the way it looks, to what it says about them as auto aficionados. What friends and colleagues, along with thousands of people I don’t know, don’t love about Audi is the company’s recent digital branding campaign, the Audi A4 Driving Challenge, which is not only not challenging, but not reflective in any way of the aforementioned Audi brand experience. In fact, gamers who download the application from iTunes to play on their iPod Touch see it as a poorly disguised attempt to advertise to them in the digital space. Unfortunately, the net take-away from reviews of the game is not just a bashing of the application, but a bashing of the brand. Ouch. While it was smart of Audi to include digital in an overall branding strategy (essential in this day and age), the company should have made sure that, like everything else it does, its recent branding app delivered on the brand’s promise. As I write in BrandDigital, one of the challenges of playing in the online space is determining how to get involved in a way that’s relevant to the brand and in keeping with what people already think about the brand. If Audi’s game was less an interruptive “advergame” and more an active demonstration of its cars’ performance on challenging roadways, it would have served the company better. The good thing about the digital space is that if something isn’t working you can take it off and move on to something else. I suggest that Audi take its current game off-road and get online with something that drives home what a great brand it is.

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