Audi’s brand is smooth. It’s characterised by cool, product quality, sophistication and more than a pinch of panache. Sure, it can be seem as a little aloof and condescending at times but for the most part it’s highly desirable. The recent A3 launch campaign in the US seems to mark a change in tack. The focus appears to be deriding competing brands such as BMW and Mercedes instead of focusing on the benefits their brand delivers.
Whilst Audi is wise to align brand / target market personality and tap into their desired social status it’s hard not to think majoring on negative associations connected with their competitors is a bit of a low blow. It’s taken Audi down a gear or two so to speak. So what can we learn from Audi’s A3 campaign? We think there are two key points:
- “If you throw dirt the only thing you lose is ground”. Why get caught up in putting your competitors down when you have brand strengths to play to? People who do this tend to be poorly thought of. The same applies to brands. Why waste your brand marketing budget raising competitors’ awareness? It’s madness.
- Be true to your brand. Audi is about sophistication. It’s hard to see what’s sophisticated about bad mouthing other brands. So why start now? Keep your focus and be true to your brand. Audi isn’t a cheap brand so why get caught up in this game?
It feels as if Audi is falling short on both these points. Our hunch is BMW and Mercedes won’t bite back. This will only serve to strengthen their brands’ kudos, quality and ultimately equity.