Campaign Review: Audi’s “The Tony Stark Challenge”

When I first got an email from M80 Advertising about the latest Audi-Iron Man 2 Innovation campaign, I was excited to write a quite positive review. The phrases “better living through technology” and the “Tony Stark lifestyle” got the geek in me worked up.

In their words:

Audi and Tony Stark are joining forces asking progressive individuals to refuse limitations, take risks and showcase their talent.  How well these forward-thinkers demonstrate “better living through technology” philosophy gets them closer to the Tony Stark lifestyle.

The Reward:

In addition to $15K in seed funding, the winner will receive VIP treatment: private helicopter tour of Los Angeles, test flight with ICON A5 aircraft, and behind-the-wheel drive of a 2010 Audi R8.

Digging more into the site and the campaign itself, I got less and less excited about this campaign. Here is why:

Amazing Flash interface for Audi's Iron Man campaign

Amazing Flash interface for Audi's Iron Man campaign

The cons:

I expected a clearer set of requirements and a better way of ranking the ideas. The following are some of the negative impressions I had while reading the details of this campaign:

  • Type of ideas requested is NOT clear at all. When I read “Audi”, automobile and fuel efficiency related topics are what I started to expect from the campaign. Not what I found on the list of ideas submitted. Maybe if the segment of problems targeted is more specific, say “global warming”, “starvation” and so on!
  • Ranking of ideas is 20% based on “enticing the social network; viewer ratings will help determine top entries”. This means that if I have 10 thousand followers on Twitter, I will have a much better chance of winning, even if  the idea is not that genuine and interesting.
  • The remaining 80% of the ranking rules is simply not that comprehensible. For instance, who will judge my idea? Does Audi have experts in all different sciences that will contribute in the judging?
  • Geeks have ideas, but they might not be able to do 3D modeling and video editing; which is a must for the entries! At the time of writing, only 4 videos where uploaded – and they seem to be uploaded by Audi employees rather than actual contestants. Two of those videos were text only slides, which proves this point.
  • What about patenting? If I have a great, feasible idea and post it online, but end up not winning the funds to develop it, I just gave a potential money-making idea out to the world.

The Pros:

Taking off my criticism hat; many aspects of the campaign are well thought out and executed:

  • Impressive audience targeting. The use of Iron Man 2 comic and movie to target the “geekier” segment of the audience is undoubtedly an interesting move.
  • Site design and the accessibility of information on the contest’s site is clear and easy to navigate through. I’m not a big fan of Flash sites, but their use of 3D web design is quite eye-catching.
  • If the campaign succeeds in collecting feasible ideas to achieve “better living through technology“, that would not only be a success for Audi, but for the entire world.

Bottom line…

It’s an interesting campaign with two incredibly well-known trademarks. It’s a great idea if it actually works, and an interesting way to further advertise Audi’s brand (click Home on their site to see for yourself).

On the other hand, considering the ambiguity of the requirements and rules of this competition, I am expecting this campaign to face a number of obstacles within the next few weeks of its execution, mainly limited number of submissions and unexpected variety of ideas.

Note: Special thanks for my friend Khalil Abuelragheb for his help in analyzing this campaign – and mostly coming up with negative comments :)

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Ambiguity leads to failure – unless people are just overwhelmed with the value of the reward! Great analysis of the pros and cons. I am anxious to see what happens next!

  • bambambi

    restrictions always choke out creativity that's at least what I think but the part about limiting submission to those that have a video and are 3-d rendered is what makes it even harder to participate. Given that the prize is only $15,000 then the max someone will be willing to invest in submitting an entry is around $150 or so … that doesn't give it much leeway for presentation but might collect a lot of potentially good ideas :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    restrictions always choke out creativity that's at least what I think but the part about limiting submission to those that have a video and are 3-d rendered is what makes it even harder to participate. Given that the prize is only $15,000 then the max someone will be willing to invest in submitting an entry is around $150 or so … that doesn't give it much leeway for presentation but might collect a lot of potentially good ideas :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2010/05/iron-man-2-campaign-learn-social-media-by-example.html Iron Man 2 Campaign — Learn Social Media By Example | Thoughtpick Blog

    [...] Tony Stark Innovation challenge (we reviewed that one, but didn’t like it much): A competition that is sponsored by Audi that calls for new ideas that promote a better living [...]

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  • http://www.nike-air-force-one.com air force one shoes

    The post of thread is very nice and informative, I often come this froum and really love it! Actually I love various kinds of food so much and this forum I learn much things ,and this forum constantly hold many activities that can make us meet many people .and I know some websites which provide many good products and they are in discount ,they are **** welcome you!

  • http://www.germancarenthusiast.com/sell-it/audi/a3 Audi A3

    Audi, got tons of play from this partnership.

  • Alla

    Nice information. Its usefulness and significance is overwhelming the way you covered all the basic necessary information is really impressive, good work keep it up.

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  • Alla

    Nice information. Its usefulness and significance is overwhelming the way you covered all the basic necessary information is really impressive, good work keep it up.

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  • http://centralcontracts.blogreaction.com www.centralcontracts.com

    This is great marketing by Audi, again.

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