Initially the technology allows people to use the bespoke Audi Vision iOS app alongside Audi’s brochures to watch video content but the “ultimate aim” is to develop its capability to allow people to use it whenever they see an Audi to access videos and information in real time.
The images in Audi’s brochure will trigger the image recognition app and play content on a mobile device. It will also roll out across Audi’s print and outdoor advertising, POS, dealership materials and events.
Hugh Fletcher, Audi national digital manager, says: “When you buy a car you can hear the roar of the engine, you feel the leather, but sometimes our advertising doesn’t get that across.
“The interesting thing about the automotive marketing world is that we market a dynamic product but its often presented in a stationary formulaic format. If you think about brochures, we’re showing really exciting cars in quite a non-dynamic format and some really fantastic technology but we’re explaining it in static copy. There’s a lot that can be done to bring our cars and technology to life through content.”
Audi has previously used Blippar in campaigns and is applying what it learned from that to its own platform.
Fletcher adds that by developing its own AR platform it doesn’t have to “interrupt” its marketing materials with additional items such as QR codes to trigger AR content.
“As a premium brand we’re looking at really top end marketing. When you use a QR code or something they take away from the overall look and feel of the marketing. We don’t want to have to change our imagery to use the AR technology. We’re at a stage now where we’ve got the technology that can just recognise our images,” he says.
The app has been developed to be a long-term feature of Audi’s marketing strategy, not just a “use once and chuck it out” app, according to Fletcher.
Audi has worked with mobile agency Somo to develop the app platform, which is live in the iTunes store today (14 May). The app is understood to be made available on other mobile platforms soon.