Making A Super Bowl Spot: Audi Burns Vampire Culture, Demonstrates Headlights In Super Bowl Ad

Audi takes a poke at an overexposed cultural phenomenon in its Super Bowl ad. The brand held a Facebook contest for fans to "unlock" the spot, now live on YouTube. Audi CMO Scott Keogh talks about the spot and why the Super Bowl is a good buy for the brand.

Audi comes to bury the vampire trend, while praising the rad headlights on the new 2013 S7 in the brand’s social media-enhanced Super Bowl XLVI ad campaign.

The automaker, which has been a big presence in the last few Super Bowls, engineered a social media contest around its advertising this year. Through the “Race The Light” contest, the brand’s Facebook fans could unlock pieces of the 60-second Super Bowl spot online. Those who collected all the pieces to the spot puzzle in 60 seconds or less were able to unlock the final ad and were also entered into contest to win a trip the Audi Sportscar Experience in Sonoma, CA.

With the spot “solved,” Audi has now posted the full spot on YouTube.

Created by agency Venables Bell & Partners, the commercial features a group of young adult vampires partying in the woods, accompanied by the track, “Killing Moon” by Echo and The Bunnymen. As one of the revelers pulls up to the party in his Audi S7, he accidentally incinerates his undead friends.

The spot sees Audi attempting a sly cultural commentary while demonstrating the firepower of the signature LED headlights. “With a humorous twist at the end, Audi LEDs—which at 5,500 Kelvin mimic daylight—put a stake in one of the most hyped trends of the decade,” says Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi of America. This year’s spot will run in the first quarter of the game.

Audi has shown a more brash persona it its advertising over the last several years, and its Super Bowl spots have been no exception (see the Best Super Bowl spots roundup below). The brand has also been keen to experiment with social media around the Super Bowl ad buy; it was the first to include a Twitter hashtag in its spot last year and this year’s spot throws to Twitter with #SoLongVampires. Keogh says the Super Bowl remains a draw for the brand as it drives traffic-online and offline. “We have achieved record levels of awareness and showroom traffic with national consideration numbers showing significant spikes post game, and are confident that this year will follow suit,” says Keogh. Last year, says Keogh, the brand generated over 2 billion media impressions, and was rated by Nielson as the number one auto brand pre-game.

Erich Pfeifer, creative director at Venables Bell & Partners says this year, enthusiastic fans cracked the Super Bowl contest before all the agency’s paid media and PR were switched on.

Pfeifer is confident that angry Twilight freaks won’t boycott the brand. "We embraced the idea and leaned into it," he says. "We knew that the vampire trend was near or at a tipping point. We just felt it was a bit of a high five with the cultural zeitgeist." The mandate for Super Bowl creative is always the same, he says: "to entertain."

"As a premium luxury brand, we need to make sure Audi is seen in the proper light," says Pfeifer.
"In that sense we are lucky that we don’t have to deliver ye olde nut shots, dogs and talking babies commercials. We can present a point of view or an idea that raises above the fray but still is enjoyable. This is our fifth year and I feel we have succeeded each year delivering smart work versus cliched tomfoolery."

As for the choice of an iconic track (near and dear to the heart of many a GenX-er), Pfeifer says it took some work to gain access to the track but it was worth it. "Making an impact on the Super Bowl requires a full arsenal and music is an important weapon," he says. "The track was actually suggested to us from the group account director. We used it throughout the rough cut stage and it just worked. The lyrics help the story. It was culturally relevant to the Audi target. It is just a killer track. I will say, however, it was a bit of a battle to get final sign off, but, thankfully, we did.

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