Audi Elements - Audi tries Viral Marketing to promote the new A4

Well, this is sad: Audi apparently has wasted hundreds of thousands of Euros for an online viral ad campaign to promote the launch of their new A4 and the result ? Just another prove that bad viral marketing doesn't have to be cheap !

If you want to see what I am talking about, head over to First you have to enter your name (yes, your real name!) and your email address (yes, your real address!). Hey, you want to see this great ad! Giving up your anonymity is not too much to ask for, right ?

Okay, so a few minutes later, you find this in your inbox:
Audi Elements
After clicking the image, you get to see a boring 3 minute long flash video - which, by the way, took 2,5 minutes to load. And here comes the big idea: at the end of the clip your name is being shown - as the ultimate attention getter, I suppose. Well, your name or whatever you have entered when you ordered the personalized link. In my case, this happened to be "clueless audi marketing executive" making the clip a lot more fun to watch ! ;-)

So far, so good. But Audi still has one more ace up its sleeve.

When all the initial excitement has subsided, you realize that you got an email from a fake dude called Keiko, who is obviously more than willing to let you into his little "circle of trust":
I had to get this message to you before it is too late. I’ve seen Vorsprung durch Technik-VdT-the secret element inside every Audi.

Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t exist. As I write there are those who are desperately trying to discover VdT. They would give anything to get their hands on it.

See it for yourself and take a test drive.

And that's the final dramatic climax of the whole campaign: after being forced to jump through all these hoops, the potential customer ends up on the standard Audi homepage, which is featuring right now the all new - oops - Audi A6 Avant !!! Sorry, but the A4 seems to be missing in action !? At least I couldn't find anything about it, when I looked at the page tonight. Oh dear...

Am I a little bit too negative here ? At least, Tim Garbutt (managing director of 20:20 London, the agency behind the campaign) sees things quite differently:
"Apart from the ground-breaking personalisation twist and email contact this Audi internet film represents a step-change in online marketing. Through digital technology we can create an experience as epic and immersive as a broadcast commercial. And it is fully interactive."
Wow, that sounds much more positive, doesn't it ? A personalisation twist, email contact and full interactivity ? What more could we (or Audi) ask for ?

How about a little clip like this one ? Funny to watch, easy to pass around and at the end linked to a great landing page, which would tell me why the A4 is the best car in the world...!? Okay, I see: the personalisation twist is missing... bummer...

Btw, one thing is really interesting: looks like the personalized links are consecutively numbered! Mine was number 114178 - May 19th, at 21:53 CET. Let's see how many of these links are being sent out in the next few days...

(via Adrants)