Audi's getting to grips with the future of car sales with a new augmented reality app. In another sign of the shift away from traditional advertising, users can see how their new A3 Sportback looks in their driveway. Presuming they buy it.
The iPad app means users can play around, paint their car, stick it in their drive in 3D - and of course, watch the obligatory features videos that tell them subtly why they are making the right purchase decision.
A month ahead of the car's launch in Australia, the app whets customer appetite before they get to the showroom. Kevin Goult, Audi Australia's general manager of marketing, said the firm was looking for new ways to help potential buyers connect with the brand and new products.
Brand strategists have been talking about the need for automotive retailers to adapt their sales strategies. Earlier this year Nielsen data suggested 40% of customers would take a virtual test drive.
Anna Burgdorf, general manager of corporate communications at Audi Australia agreed that this was the future of car sales. "It is a vastly different market today, even to what it was two years ago," she told AdNews.
Burgdorf pointed to the shelving of the Melbourne motor show as evidence that manufacturers have already moved on. Traditional advertising and marketing "does not have the same level of significance as in the past."
That sentiment is underlined by the declining ad spend of Audi parent company Volkswagen AG. Last year it spent 17% less than in 2011 on advertising, according to Nielsen estimates.
Burgdorf agreed with the line cited by the likes of TMS' Helen Karabassis and others that car salesmen (and women) have to become brand story tellers. "We're a European brand, people see our cars months before they arrive in Australia, so we have to work well in advance [to tell those stories]."
The app was created by UK firm Somo.
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