Audi’s latest global brand platform, “Land of Quattro” and has been rolled out in several countries like India, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. For the latter, Audi Australia has imagined a participative campaigned designed to involve consumers with the brand. “In Australia, Audi has worked with its newly-appointed agency Holler to produce […] an innovative digital execution that allows the public to ‘remix’ the TVC to direct their own commercial,” Marketingmag.com.au explains. A typical example of a crowdsourced advertising campaign, right?
CSW’s tweet got me thinking. It links to this article, where Anna Burgdorf, general manager of Audi corporate communications, says “we don’t see it as crowdsourcing, we see it as another way to watch a commercial and be involved in a brand campaign.” Looking at the campaign created by Holler, I see a creative brief, a deadline, a reward… so it’s crowdsourcing, right? Let’s look at it in more detail!
Take the director’s chair and get involved in this multi-angle, multi-screen, interactive commercial (Holler.com.au)
Holler, the Sydney-based digital agency that developed Audi’s first locally produced campaign in Australia, says it’s an “interactive commercial” or an “interactive TV spot.” So does Anna Burgdorf, quoted above, who said that “It’s an individual interaction for people to take part in and it’s something different to crowdsourcing. Anything we can do to engage people more in the communality and the Audi brand is a good thing.” So far so good.
The idea is that, using footage created by Audi, Australians can log on to the site and direct their own version of the ad including Australian landscapes, vehicle footage and scenes of everyday activities. Consumers can access reams of footage of the Audi Q5 shot from every angle using quadcopters and car-mounted GoPro cameras using a simulated video edit suite on the Audi Quattro website with a visual timeline to select scenes and camera angles to produce their own 60 second commercial. It’s like the 2006 Chevy Tahoe ad contest, but in better. Here’s the original TV commercial that invites Aussies to participate.
I went to the site (which is open to anyone, even if the rules say that “entry is only open to all residents within Australia“) and experienced it myself. The process is rather straightforward, and in 10 easy steps you can start to create your spot:
Once you have created your spot, it is reviewed and the best spots are even featured in a gallery on the Land Of Quattro website. Each entry will be judged in the week it was submitted, with the chance to win a “Minor Prize” and be eligible to a “Major Prize,” the rules explain. A week’s most viewed spot can also win a “Minor Prize,” see more about the przies here.
Entries will be judged by Audi’s managing director Andrew Doyle, actor Richard Roxburgh, and Mike Hill, CEO of Holler. Last but not least, the winner will have their ad broadcast on TV and online on September 29 with a director’s credit, and will have the opportunity to travel to the home of Audi quattro and take part in the Audi ice experience in the Austrian Alps, along with a tour of the brand’s HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany. So there are some neat incentives here!
WHAT IS CROWDSOURCING?
What is crowdsourcing? In 2006, Jeff Howe defined it as “the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.“ In 2008, Daren Brabham used these words: “a company posts a problem online, a vast number of individuals (the ‘crowd’) offer solutions to the problem, the winning ideas are awarded some form of a bounty, and the company [uses] the idea for its own gain.” Daren Brabham doesn’t see voting initiatives as crowdsourcing, because the locus of control regarding the creative production is more on the company side than the consumer side (if you’re interested, make sure to read Brabham’s book about crowdsourcing).
In a recent paper, two Spanish researchers Enrique Estelles-Arolas and Fernando González-Ladrón-de-Guevara say that crowdsourcing initiatives have 8 clearly defined characteristics:
- There is a clearly defined crowd
- There exists a task with a clear goal
- The recompense received by the crowd is clear
- The crowdsourcer is clearly identified
- The compensation to be received by the crowdsourcer is clearly defined
- It is an online assigned process of participative type
- It uses an open call of variable extent
- It uses the Internet
These criteria make sense. You see where I’m heading?
IS IT CROWDSOURCING OR NOT?
Reminder. Here’s what Audi’s manager said: “We don’t see it as crowdsourcing, we see it as another way to watch a commercial and be involved in a brand campaign. It’s an individual interaction for people to take part in and it’s something different to crowdsourcing.”
My opinion is that it is crowdsourcing, because all of the 8 criteria above are met. Also, there is a submission period as we can see in the T&C’s, there are incentives to participate, described in the Prize details section, there will be a judging panel and some of the best entries are showcased in a gallery. Oh, and the legal rules name the initiative “Audi Land of quattro Video Competition.” On the other hand, it is debatable whether the locus of control lies more on the organizational side (the agency provides content, Audi imposes mandatory footage) than on the public side (consumers drag & drop footage, choose between pre-defined options).
But overall, since Audi and Holler ask people to get creative, I would put it on the public-end of the continuum. “With around 1.2 billion possible combinations, no two TVCs will be the same,” Campaign Brief says, and The Australian notes that “[while] the voiceover and the company’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advancement through technology) slogan remains the same, 85 per cent of the commercial can be changed,” So again, I think the manager from Audi is wrong, and it’s definitely a crowdsourcing initiative. So I did put it on my Crowdsourcing by World’s Best Global Brands timeline!
DOES IS MATTER ANYWAY?
No. Thinking about it, there’s no point arguing too much about the term. It’s a great interactive commercial, interactive TV spot, brand engagement initiative, whatever the name. Adnews highlights that more than 1,100 TV ads have been made by “Audi fans,” who are spending 19 minutes on the brand’s website on average, which is the longest Audi has ever seen on a campaign microsite!
It has already achieved Kevin Goult, Audi Australia’s general manager of marketing’s aim of generating emotional engagement with the brand
So whether it is crowdsourcing or not is not crucial. Crowdsourcing is a tool to gather innovative ideas, to engage consumers, to produce content or achieve other organizational objectives. In this case, it worked out great. Congrats Holler and Audi Australia!