How Audi won the Super Bowl with Snapchat

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Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest advertising day of the year, so how could a car brand stand out from the scrimmage? In 2014, Audi sent followers funny Snapchat pictures relevant to the game in real time. The campaign generated millions of earned impressions and introduced Audi to a new generation of consumers.

Case study summary

• Car brand taps in to new generation of 'second screeners' using mobiles during Superbowl

• Real time Snapchat pictures provide funny alternative commentary on the game

• Snaps generate social buzz during the game with 100,000 total views and 2,400 campaign mentions on Twitter

• Audi drove the most online mentions of any automaker during the Super Bowl, one-third of which resulted from the Snapchat campaign.

The Challenge

Audi was the first brand to feature a hashtag in a Super Bowl commercial in 2011 and wanted to remain at the forefront of real-time marketing around the event. Every year this was becoming more difficult as more brands entered the fray, creating an overwhelming amount of real-time clutter on every social channel.

The intended audience for this campaign was Super Bowl viewers and Snapchat users, who are typically Millennials. The Super Bowl campaign promoted the Audi A3, a new entry-level sedan, and targeted first-time luxury buyers, allowing Audi to engage a younger generation.

The solution

During Superbowl XLVIII, Audi turned to a strategic partnership with Snapchat and The Onion to raise awareness with the Millennial demographic.

Snapchat had exploded in popularity, with its legions of mostly Millennial users sending millions of ephemeral photos, drawings, and videos each month. Very few brands have fully embraced the platform yet, and none had used it on a stage as large as the Super Bowl.

A 2013 survey by the Mobile Marketing Association found that 59 percent of Super Bowl viewers used their mobile devices during the game, making social media on mobile an ideal platform to engage them.

With the help of its agency-of-record, Huge and Onion Labs, the in-house creative services division of The Onion, humorous photos and captions were created in line with typical behavior people – or their pets – may exhibit during the game.

Audi wanted to generate public online conversation through raw, privately distributed, humorous content to stay above the fray of overly produced marketing messages flooding users’ Twitter feeds.

Leading up to the game, Audi urged consumers through other social channels to follow the brand on Snapchat. Although Audi also had a Super Bowl commercial airing during the game, the Snapchat activation was creatively independent and purely mobile.

Despite the fact that it was a digital activation, the process was low-tech and involved relatively low spend, using only simple photos and a smartphone. The snaps were developed by pairing stock photos with clever captions that joked about real-time aspects of the game and the halftime show. The brand manually accepted 5,500 new followers one by one on Sunday, in addition to the 5,000 followers added in the two days leading up to the Super Bowl.

The results

The end results grew Audi’s Snapchat following by more than 5,500 over the course of the game, reportedly one of the largest spikes Snapchat has ever seen.

Many fans shared the private snaps publicly to their followers on Twitter, claiming that the snaps from Audi were the only enjoyable part of the Super Bowl in light of the lackluster game.

There were 100,000 total views of the Snapchat Stories that Audi posted, and the 2,400 campaign mentions on Twitter reached 37 million impressions. The excitement and enthusiasm this created spilled over to other channels, with the brand’s Twitter following growing by 2,500 and its Facebook fan base increasing by 9,000.

Audi drove the most online mentions of any automaker during the Super Bowl, one-third of which resulted from the Snapchat campaign.

Snapchat remarked that Audi was one of the fastest-growing followings they had ever seen, and they received multiple partnership inquiries from major brands the day after the game, which had never happened before.

By pioneering a new platform and a more intimate brand relationship with relevant content, Audi drove brand awareness among Millennials on both traditional and social media platforms, generating more online conversation than any of its competitors on the biggest advertising day of the year.

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