Acura Goes Mobile for RDX

Acura’s campaign for its new RDX sport utility vehicle drives consumers from print to cell phone to win free music and travel.

The national multichannel effort is led by creative agency RPA. It markets to technologically sophisticated consumers through broadcast, print, in-theater and outdoor events as well as an image tag mobile-only game that offers free music and a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles.

“The demographic is a 30-year-old male that makes a lot of money,” said Andy VanAken, management supervisor at RPA, Santa Monica, CA. “These guys are married to their Blackberries and cell phones, so it’s the perfect medium for this demographic.”

The RDX is a high-tech SUV and contains the Torrance, CA, car maker’s first production of a turbocharged engine as well as super handling all wheel drive, an MP3 auxiliary jack and Bluetooth compatibility. It costs $33,000 for the basic package and $36,000 with the upgrades.

The image tag campaign is based on image recognition software and mobile phone technology. Users take a photo of the RDX in the print advertising with their mobile phone, e-mail it to [email protected] and become eligible to sign up at for a complimentary TurboMix CD — a compilation album of contemporary electronic artists. Users also can enter a sweepstakes to win one of five expenses-paid trips to Los Angeles.

The print ads appear in magazines like Wired, Sports Illustrated, Time, Paper, Paste and Seed. Outdoor ads also will appear in 12 markets as well as in phone kiosks in New York.

This game lets Acura generate a list of prospective clients.

These new tactics are being done in concert with more traditional marketing. Computer-generated animation television spots by Digital Domain Television as well as TV commercials directed by Mark Romanek, an award-winning music video and feature film director, are in play. Spots air on programs like “Lost,” during college football and on cinema screens nationwide.

The RPA  campaign also includes events aimed to connect dealers with customers in local areas.

Other events have corporate partners. Acura will team with ABC to host parties in six markets. Also, Wired magazine and XM Satellite Radio will showcase the latest high-tech toys and equipment along with the RDX. And Acura is the automotive sponsor of National Public Radio podcasting and will continue to support free downloads during the launch of the RDX.

As part of the marketing mix, the RDX will be promoted on ABC’s Supersign in New York’s Times Square. This board will feature information about the RDX and will run the RDX ads in high definition on the 585-square-foot Sony JumboTron.

Integrating all of these channels is crucial when targeting people who are wise to the efforts of advertisers, Mr. VanAken said.

“The fully integrated campaign made the most sense to target this media-savvy group,” Mr. VanAken said. “It is a great way to discover the mobile medium, which is going to be big.”

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