Audi Teams with Condé Nast Parent in US Multimedia Deal

09 May 2003

German carmaker Audi is joining forces with Advance Publications (parent of Vogue publisher Condé Nast) in a major US marketing deal.

The auto firm – a unit of Volkswagen – is spending up to $20 million (€17.5m; £12.5m) promoting its 2004 A8 L model. Under the new deal, it will buy three hundred ad pages in fifteen Advance magazines, including Vogue, Details, Golf Digest and Wired.

However, Advance will do more than just run the ads. The deal also calls for Condé Nast to search its 20 million subscriber database for those who match Audi’s customer profile, organise promotional events and even become involved in a network TV special.

The accord is the latest indication that marketers look to media conglomerates for multimedia marketing packages. Advance reportedly fought for the contract against other publishers, including AOL Time Warner’s Time unit.

“It's not just a series of little things,” said Mary Ann Wilson, national ad manager for Audi of America, “but several very, very big ones – that’s what we were after.”

Condé Nast will organise a gala launch in New York, then parties featuring special lighting displays in Miami, Dallas, Chicago and Beverly Hills. It will also target readers seen as potential Audi customers to offer incentives to test drive the A8 L.

In addition, Advance magazines will include an insert featuring eight individuals deemed innovative from business and showbiz backgrounds, carrying the tagline ‘Never follow’. A one-off television show based around these celebrities is also being contemplated.

The publisher hopes to renew the deal on an annual basis, and Wilson added that Audi may make such a decision after autumn. Commented Condé Nast evp and chief marketing officer Richard D Beckman: “It doesn't make sense when you put all this time and effort into a program that can't last beyond one year.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff