Audi oversteers in quest for brand awareness

Gary Savage was not wrong when he said that Audi’s new channel will “potentially” reach 21 million people. (“Audi move into branded TV braves the sceptics”, MW October 27).

At present 7.2 million homes are subscribed to the Sky platform, but figures from existing sports channels show that viewing figures for fringe sports can be very low – just breaking the 100,000 mark. There is no justification to suggest that Audi will have appeal for the masses.

Today’s consumers demand that brand communication works harder to engage with them and demonstrate how products and services are relevant to them. Branded content is an important part of the marketing mix, but smarter tactics than launching⢠your own channel are available for other big brands keen to jump on the digital bandwagon.

Mainstream quality programming will not continue to be possible without the funding and collaboration of commercial brands as the advertising market fragments further. This does not sound the death-knell for the 30-second spot ad, but pushes us to go beyond it. “Ownership”of content poses a great opportunity for strategic marketers to develop interactive concepts, negotiate off-air marketing rights and translate programming virally. If this is done properly, the viewer, broadcaster and brand alike are winners.

Audi has been at the forefront of stand-out advertising with notable achievements such as the Channel 4 sponsorship of motor sport. However, I doubt that 24/7 Audi TV is really a genuine channel for the future; more a simple marketing gimmick that has started a great debate.

Stewart Mison

Senior vice-president

Brandcasting

Octagon UK

London SW6

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