To celebrate its presence in the latest installment of the Iron Man movie franchise and build awareness of the partnership, German car manufacturer Audi has joined forces with Marvel Entertainment to launch Steer the Story, a contest that lets consumers create their own ending to a digital comic book featuring Iron Man Tony Stark.
The comic book has three chapters. Over the last few weeks, fans have been able to vote on Iron Man's responses to the endings of Chapters 1 and 2.
Audi revealed the results of the first voting period and launched the second chapter on April 15. The "Fire Repulsor Rays" reaction to Chapter 1 won with 981 votes over the "High Speed Intercept Course" response, which received just 477 votes.
On April 22, Audi revealed the results of the second voting period and launched the third chapter, giving fans the opportunity to upload their submissions for the finale. Chapter 2's "Arctic Armor" won out with 1065 votes over "Spy-Tech Armor" with 470 votes.
Fans have until midnight on May 3 to upload their own creative final scenes.
The site has short videos and a how-to-draw PDF, giving fans instructions on how to draw Stark's car, the Audi R8, and helmet, which Audi says gives participants "the tools used by Marvel artists as they prepare their very own final panel."
Audi Social Media Specialist Andrew Elliott says, "We tried to give them the guidance they need to help craft this ending and participate."
All participants who submit a creative panel will be acknowledged in the final page of the comic book, but Elliott says only U.S. fans are eligible to win prizes.
As of Thursday, the site had 15 submissions from 7 countries.
On May 10, two finalists and one grand prize winner will be announced on the Steer the Story site.
On May 24, participants will be directed to Marvel.com to download the final version of the comic book.
"Our biggest fans enjoy drawing their own interpretations of our vehicles and comic book fans enjoy drawing their own superheroes, so we wanted to know if we could combine those two passions in a way that no one had ever seen before and were working with Marvel to develop a storyline to live in the social space and allow fans to really craft their own Iron Man adventure," Elliot says.
According to a press release, Iron Man 3 marks Audi's third appearance in an Iron Man film. In it, Stark will drive the all-electric Audi R8 e-tron sports car prototype. The Audi S7 Sportback is also featured.
Iron Man 3 debuts in theaters May 3.
Audi says it will support the film via a month-long late night television and national cable campaign as well as a presence on the movie sites Fandango.com and Movies.com. The brand also says it unveiled an Audi Marvel's Iron Man 3 ad that ran in cinemas throughout the month leading up to the film's release.
In addition, the brand has been pushing the promotion on Facebook to Audi USA's 6.8 million fans and on Twitter to @Audi's 337,000 followers.
Audi's YouTube page features both an Audi Iron Man commercial and a cross-promotional video for the Audi R8 and Iron Man 3.
Audi also has a microsite with additional movie and car elements.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.