Audi, Inc.

Company: Silverline TechnologiesCustomer: Audi, Inc.

Submitted by: Silverline TechnologiesDate: Summer 2001(USA) Audi of America, Inc. headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, is the North American sales company responsible for importing Audi cars into the US and Canada. Started in 1899 in Cologne, Germany, Audi is named after its founder, August Horch (his last name means “hark” which is “audi” in Latin).  Audi in America flourished in 1999 with its fifth straight year of double-digit growth selling a total of 65,959 cars, up 38.8 percent over the previous year.

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  • Silverline helps Audi maintain brand consistency.
  • Web solution reduces distribution time from 30 days to immediate access.
  • Dealers now obtain marketing information quickly, more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Silverline solution has positive effect on entire ad-production process.

Challenge: Reduce 30-Day Advertisement Distribution Process

Because advertising is a critical area of marketing for any car manufacturer, it’s important that ads on the national and local-dealership levels convey the same look, feel, and brand identity.

To achieve this goal, Audi ( spends the first few months of each year developing an advertising strategy for its new fall lineup of cars, and then creates and produces ads that reflect the strategy.But in the past, when it came time to distribute the ad proofs or “slicks” to its 300 car dealerships and marketing partners in the U.S.

and Canada, the process ended up taking a week or two. “We had this archaic distribution system,” said Jim Bourdganis, Regional Advertising Manager, Audi of America, Inc. “We’d first contact our ad agency (McKinney & Silver) to get the materials, then burn them onto CD-ROMs, package them, and finally put them in the mail for distribution to our dealers. Every time we updated the materials, we had to repeat the process.”

Constant Deadline Pressure

“Because the ad-creation process is so long and involves so many people,” explained Kim Connelly, Advertising and Communications Specialist, Audi of America, Inc. “we’re always running up against our Fall deadline to have the ads in our dealers’ hands so they, in turn, have time to include their name and other local information for the new product launches.

What we needed was a way to distribute the ads and any follow-up changes in real time. We worked with Silverline to help us out. They’ve done a number of projects for us before and are a proven member of our team.”

Silverline Solution: Rapid Delivery of Web Solution with Real Time Access

“Silverline created a web-based solution for us that we feel is unique in the industry and they did it in an incredibly short time—from concept to execution, it took less than a month,” stated Bourdganis. “We were one of the first automotive makers to develop a web-based advertising distribution process for our dealers.

We’ve reduced distribution time substantially, allowing dealers and their agencies to access advertising materials immediately. The time-savings are tremendous. Since its introduction all of our dealers have embraced the new distribution process—there’s ‘zero cost’ to our dealers.”The benefits of the solution accrue to both Audi and their dealers, in terms of savings in software and processing costs. The dealers do not need to purchase any special software—all they need do is download a copy of Adobe Systems’ Acrobat Reader, which is available free of charge from Adobe’s Internet web site.Audi simply uploads the ads—formatted in Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) file format—to its website.

Dealers can then build and localize the ads within the system, and download a complete production-ready file.             Whenever advertisements are updated or changed, the revised versions can be available immediately via the website. Silverline developed the solution from concept through final production to meet Audi’s predefined business objectives.

Constant Improvements Mean Better Service

“The website is fast and it does everything we wanted it to do, and more,” noted Connelly. “Our Audi dealers just love it and, as Silverline continues to help us improve it, the site just keeps getting better and better.”The advertisements are produced in such a way that dealers can only add pricing, leasing, dealer location, and other local information.

Because no other parts of the ads can be altered, Audi receives another big bonus thanks to the web solution: consistent brand messaging. “We know that every ad will have the message, look, and feel we intended,” continued Connelly, “no matter what part of the U.S. or Canada the ad appears in.”In addition to advertisements, the site also contains Audi logos, black and white and color photography, the company’s graphics standards guide, and a brand identity section that helps dealers understand Audi’s overall strategy and the brand definition of each car line.

Silverline also added a feature where dealers can use a downloadable form to order point-of-sale brochures and special Audi fonts.

Silverline Innovations Affect Entire Ad-Production Process

Silverline has suggested a number of innovations, including the revisable, PDF-formatted ad proofs, and continues to be a valuable member of the Audi team. “We’re very pleased with the project and the work Silverline has done,” said Bourdganis. “They bring a lot to the table in terms of their Internet expertise and project-management skills. Because we can now make last-minute changes to ads and post them to our website with minimal trouble and turnaround time, our whole ad-production process is affected in a positive way.

Our goal is to serve Audi dealers as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as we can, and Silverline is helping us do that.”Results

  • Silverline developed a secure web solution where Audi dealers throughout North America can download advertisements and other marketing information in real time.
  • The web solution helps ensure that every ad will have the consistent message, look, and feel.
  • The Silverline web solution has reduced Audi’s ad distribution time from 30 days to immediate access.
  • Dealers can access the ads online, add their local information within the system and then download a complete production-ready file from their computers.
  • Besides ads, dealers now have instant access to Audi logos, black and white and color photography, a graphics standards guide, and brand identity information.
  • Audi can now make last-minute changes to ads and post them to its website with minimal trouble and turnaround time, which affects their whole ad-production process in a positive way.
  • The web solution helps Audi serve its dealers’ needs faster, more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Silverline, the company logo, “The Power of Approach,” and i-team are service marks of Silverline in the United States and other countries.