Audi is running daily video webcasts during the two-weeks-long Winter Olympics. American ski team members T.J. Lanning and Resi Stiegler - who will not participate in the games due to injury - will co-host behind-the-scenes, 15-minute "webisodes" as they intermingle with fellow skiers.
Dubbed "Live at the Lodge with T.J. and Resi," the clips from Vancouver are being made available on Facebook.com/audi, Justin.TV, and USSkiTeam.com at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The clips will generally represent a mash-up of interviews orchestrated by the two skiers earlier that day, and then those segments will eventually be made into a documentary once the Olympics end.
Jeri Ward, GM of marketing and strategy for the Herndon, VA-based automaker, commented on why the branding effort made strategic sense for Audi: "There are a lot of people who are really big fans of skiing. This gives them a really unique, inside look to everything that's happening on the mountain."
On anchoring the webisodes on Facebook rather than Audi.com, Ward cited her brand's 450,000-plus "fans" and their ability to share the videos in a viral fashion. "Obviously, we have a lot of U.S. ski team and Audi branded content on Audi USA," she said. "But, I believe that you can't expect [a flagship site] to be the only place for consumers to interact with your brand anymore. So we are trying to reach people where they are...and where they are spending a lot of their time."
During the Winter Games, Lanning and Stiegler will consider interview questions for the webisodes that are submitted via Audi's Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Lanning is tweeting about the daily videos, Ward said, while his female counterpart is posting about the Olympics at her personal blog, Resi-Stiegler.com.
Ward added that Justin.TV's more than 1 million monthly visitors will see "promos leading up to the interstitials that show up on [that] site." Audi's monthly newsletter recently teased the webisodes as well.
Ward suggested that her brand was looking to build on the buzz from its "Green Police" Super Bowl effort and other recent advertising plays. The webisodes also "allows us to further promote our [three-year-old] partnership with the U.S. ski team," she explained.
While the webisodes will not be tagged during upcoming TV spots, Ward said that her brand is running :30 and :60 ads throughout the Winter Games. "About 100 total spots will run" on NBC and its family of cable channels providing events coverage, she said.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
March 19, 2014