Audi turns emotions into data, then into art

Who: Audi Canada, with Bensimon Byrne for strategy and creative; Free Society for production (directed by Chris Muir); 1stAveMachine for art and technology; Button Factory and Alter Ego for post-production; TA2 for sound; and Touché for media.

What: “Feel the Art of Audi,” a launch campaign for the new Q8 Sportback e-tron that captures visceral human reactions to the fully electric vehicle and transforms them into digital art.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, with video running in cinema, along with other online and out-of-home, including an event at Toronto’s ROM next week.

Why: For Audi, building and selling its brand is less about the practicalities of getting from A to B, and more about the details that create an elevated experience getting from A to B— including in the fast-growing and still relatively new EV segment.

“The narrative around electric vehicles seems to generally be around range, price, and availability,” said Audi Canada’s head of marketing, Joseph Ottorino. “The ask [for Bensimon Byrne] was to position the Q8 e-tron models as the new standard of electric luxury, by demonstrating that the Q8 e-tron models deliver everything our customers expects from an Audi—understated and elegant design, beautifully crafted with attention to detail inside and out, and no compromise on performance.”

Audi’s tagline is “Progress you can feel,” and the entire brand ethos is about making people feel something while driving an Audi, added Joseph Bonnici, chief creative officer for Tadiem, including Bensimon Byrne. “The Q8 causes a visceral reaction,” he said. “And so, how how do we bring that to life?”

How: The idea behind the campaign was to reveal the Q8 to Canadian model Coco Rocha for the first time, and capture her emotional reactions using technology including an EEG headband for brainwaves, and a hexoskin bodysuit for other biometrics like heart rate.

Artificial intelligence was then used to turn the data of her emotions into free-flowing, digital art. The message for consumers is that Audi Q8 will make you feel things, those feelings will be beautiful and—thanks to AI—it’s possible to actually see what those beautiful feelings look like.

“The art creates a pleasant sense of wonder and curiosity—it’s elegant and intriguing,” said Ottorino. “You can feel the various emotions when viewing the art. It represents the awe, serenity, and exhilaration that the Q8 e-tron models create.”

A cinema spot shows Rocha “experiencing” the Q8 Sportback e-tron, and she explains how her data is being tuned into art.  “That’s kind of what you’re seeing in the film, her real life data turned into art in the moment that she experienced it,” said Bonnici.

Why this will work: “The concept tells a beautiful story versus outlining a series of features. This alone gave us confidence that it would resonate with our customers,” said Ottorino. “Selecting and driving a vehicle is an emotional exercise, we hear many positive comments from our existing customers about what they love about driving an Audi. This concept not only precisely captured the feeling of experiencing the Q8 e-tron models, but it did it through an AI generated visual masterpiece.”

Consumers in most categories are looking beyond product in search of experiences, but that is particularly true in luxury automotive, added Bonicci. “That’s kind of why we think this was going to be effective. It’s because we’re really speaking to what drivers are asking for.”

Why Coco Rocha: Aside from being a longtime Audi driver, Rocha is Canadian, which was important to the car company. “We also asked that the vehicle be paired with a Canadian storyteller to ensure our global brand strategy is relatable to Canadians,” said Ottorino.

Rocha is also known as one of the first supermodels to embrace digital and social media, explained Bonicci. “The brand stands for progress… and she was a person who stood for progress in her field.”

And we quote: “The Audi brand prides itself on progress, and embracing new technology that improves the human experience. The combination of all these, made this concept an obvious choice.” — Joseph Ottorino, head of marketing, Audi Canada







David Brown