Audi CD Mailing Gets People Behind the Wheel

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Audi of America's use of a Web-linked CD-ROM as a consumer-facing direct mail piece, dealer marketing tactic and trade show/event handout is generating test drives for the German automaker.


More than 18.5 percent of the interactive television disc's recipients have registered for Audi's "24-Hour Test Drive" effort since the mail pieces started dropping in mid-April. Audi, Auburn Hills, MI, typically has a 20 percent conversion rate for prospects who take a test drive.


"Audi needed a way to combine the emotional impact of full-screen video with the power of interactivity," said Tony Quin, president of IQTV, the Atlanta firm responsible for the interactive TV disc technology and Showmail e-mail delivery system.


Titled "The Audi Experience: The Closest Thing to Driving an Audi," the disc is integral to a national direct marketing and sales push to create awareness for this unique test-drive proposition and drive local dealer traffic.


According to results through May 26, disc viewers make 12 clicks during each experience, spending nearly 6.5 minutes in total. This excludes time spent on the site at www.audiusa.com after viewing the disc. More than 25 percent of viewers linked directly from the disc to the site.


Each disc offers full-screen interactive videos of every Audi model, including the A4, A6, A8, TT and allroad quattro. Recipients can select and learn about Audi performance, technology, design and safety features. They also can find contact information for local dealers and register for a test drive. The disc particularly recommends a 24-hour test drive for the A4 and A6 cars. The program lets approved customers literally take home an Audi and test drive it for an entire day.


The 60-minute experience on the standard CD-ROM plays automatically on virtually any PC or Macintosh computer without requiring downloads, installs or plug-ins.


Linking to the marketer's Web site helps keep track of open rates, click-throughs, view times and jump or landing pages in aggregate. IQTV technology soon may let Audi remotely update site content once the disc is playing.


Using the U.S. Postal Service, Volkswagen-owned Audi sent discs to more than 225,000 consumers. Of this, 150,000 went to targeted consumers and 18,000 to Audi owners coming off their leases. Another 50,000 went to participating Audi dealers to use as an exit package in the dealership. Also, 7,000 discs allocated to dealers will be distributed at national auto shows and the upcoming Audi Motorsports and TT tours.


Duplication, packaging and mailing costs for the campaign totaled less than $1 per piece, Quin said, though he would not disclose the production costs. IQTV can charge $100,000 to $500,000 per disc program for production costs depending on the extent of the video content and other factors.


This is Audi's first interactive TV disc production. Content was repurposed from the Audi Certified Pre-Owned online marketing effort in last year's fourth quarter. At the time, the pre-owned division and IQTV created an "Audi Dream Showroom." It included IQTV's Showmail e-mails supported by targeted rich media ads and a video-rich microsite at www.audicpo.com.


That campaign resonated with its intended audience, generating more than 15,000 test drives nationwide. Visitors to the site saw full-motion video descriptions of every Audi model made in the past five years.


A 9-year-old marketing agency, IQTV also counts IBM Corp. and Cox Communications as users of its disc technology. IBM's small and medium business unit uses the disc as a mail piece, sales enabler and trade show giveaway. Cox used the disc in interactive kiosks placed in electronics stores. Like Audi, these marketers realize the emotional appeal of TV combined with the interactivity of discs and the Internet.


"Every day the new media landscape looks more and more like TV, not the TV we grew up with but the beginning of the interactive TV world," Quin said. "Fueling our strategies and our work is the recognition that the Internet is quickly shifting from a print analogy to a TV analogy, and from an advertising medium to a selling medium."


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