Audi - The new more fuel efficient Audi communications model

Principal Authors: Carl Mueller and Adam Knight – BBH

Contributing Authors: Ed Booty and Jonathan Bottomley – BBH; Leila Buckley and Andrew Robson – Millward Brown


This paper provides a wonderful lesson in how a premium brand can ride a recession, and in fact turn tough times into a marketing weapon. In 2009 Audi faced a perfect storm: a slowing economy, more frugal consumers and a greener society. Through better understanding its customers, Audi was able to evolve its communications, shifting its previously model-focused approach to one which highlighted the efficiency innovations of the entire Audi range. ‘The new more fuel efficient Audis’ multi-channel campaign emphasised the rational benefits of driving an Audi. It allowed Audi to become more efficient in its marketing spend and resulted in considerable commercial success; annual sales targets were hit by mid September, achieving a net profit of over £50m and a payback of £1.70 for each £1 spent. All-in-all the judges were delighted to see a brand sticking to its premium positioning and actively building on it to create further differentiation when the economy dipped.