The Washington Post is launching a new mobile content series that uses AR technology to learn more about cool stories behind famous buildings around the world. The first installment is a 10-second-long AR experience that readers can activate on their smartphone via the Post’s iOS app to learn about the unique ceiling design in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany. Audi is the sole brand sponsor of the series. Its first ad will appear as a visual, but the Post it will work with Audi to create branded AR stories in upcoming installments.
What Brands Need To Do
This is an exciting example of a brand leveraging a publisher’s AR efforts to experiment with new ways to reach mobile consumers. While Snapchat has been credited as the pioneer in popularizing AR camera effects, Facebook made a big AR move last month with the launch of its Camera Effects platform, which offers brands a platform and the tools they need to create interactive experiences which use the camera as an input. As more and more media platforms and publishers start to get on board with mobile-based AR technology, it is up to brands to find the right content creator to partner with to explore camera-based AR experience to reach customers.
Audi has signed on as an official sponsor to Astralis, an award-winning Danish eSports team that specializes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The team is set to compete next in the upcoming ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta, Georgia. As one of the biggest eSports tournaments of the year, ELEAGUE attracted record high volume of live viewers last year.
What Brands Need To Do
Audi’s sponsorship marks a significant entry into the eSports arena from auto brands, which has previously been mostly sponsored by CPG, consumer tech, and telecom brands. Last October, Snickers announced it has signed on as a sponsor of ELEAGUE tournament’s broadcast on TBS. Previously, early-adopting brands, such as Coca-Cola and Geico, have sponsored eSports events to reach its young-skewing Millennial audience. As competitive gaming continuously beat out viewership expectations and saw consistent growth over the past few years, brands, especially those seeking global recognition, need to start leveraging the massive reach of eSports events and platforms via sponsorships and ads.
After months of speculation, Nokia finally confirmed this week that it has agreed to sell its HERE mapping unit to a group of European automobile makers, Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes, reportedly for $3.07 billion.
What Brands Should Do
With the rise of connected cars and consumer interests, automakers are starting to realize the increasing importance of owning their navigation and mapping data. Nokia’s HERE mapping unit provides a reliable alternative to the mapping services developed by silicon valley companies like Google Maps. It is crucial for those in the automobile industry to continue building out their software and corresponding platforms through partnerships and acquisitions, so as not to become dependent on a third-party service.
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Audi has launched its “Audi on demand” service as a pilot program in San Francisco, which offers daily rentals of a variety of Audi models, ranging from Audi A5 for $200 per day up to an R8 Spyder for $1,285 per day. While the rate is significantly higher than other car rental services like Zipcar, Audi is clearly hoping leverage its brand prestige into capturing the upscale segment of the on-demand car market, much like what its direct competitor BMW is doing with its carsharing program DriveNow.
Moreover, Audi seems committed to building a mobile-first user experience, in which starting, locking, and unlocking the car all takes place through a designated app. It does, however, come with a digital key card as a backup just in case your phone dies.
Yesterday, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance, which promised partnerships with the likes of Audi, GM, and Honda, and lent credence to the theories that automotive dashboards are a new major target area for technological development. Google is trying to meet that gap with Android: there will be Android-powered dashboards in cars as well as improvements to Android smartphones geared toward making them more car-friendly. At press time yesterday, it was unclear what those developments would look like, but today we have a very concrete example: Audi’s Smart Display. Clocking in at 10.2 inches, it’s an Android tablet that lives in your car and is designed with passengers in mind. At this point, the tablet appears to act as an Android-based command center for everything in the car, from Wi-Fi connection to media, navigation, and even temperature settings. It’s designed to sustain crashes, and can withstand the high temperatures of being left in a boiling car all afternoon on a summer’s day. This is but one manifestation of the Alliance, and expect more deep Android integration into these vehicles in the coming days, months, and years. The era of the connected car may very well be a physical reality, finally.
Last night there were precisely 20.9 million Super-Bowl related Tweets, and nearly 30% of those weren’t about the game – they were about the action between the snaps. In total, for every seven tweets about the game there were two about the ads, and the winner for most twitter action of the game was GoDaddy.com, who clocked in at 290,000 tweets – nearly six times as many as Audi, who came in last at about 50,000. However, just because they got more action on the social network doesn’t mean they were necessarily viewed positively: 80% of tweets that mentioned Audi were positive, while just 14% of GoDaddy.com’s mentions were similarly supportive. So although Audi pumped about $150 dollars into every mention on twitter – as compared to GoDaddy.com’s $25, Audi only paid about $1,500 per new follower, as compared to GoDaddy’s $6,500; indeed, Audi netted over 6,500 new followers last night while GoDaddy.com attracted just over 1,000.
So, it doesn’t necessarily pay to be the most mentioned Ad on Twitter. In the end, Taco Bell’s hashtag #livemas was the most mentioned, and they got the highest ROI from a twitter perspective. Success in terms of followers and positive social response ultimately won the night, not controversial advertising.