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Justin Timberlake as an IT specialist: worst idea ever? Audi apparently doesn’t feel the same way we do. We feel that nothing can come close to BMW’s The Hire series of Internet films, the other German luxury car maker seems to think that putting an ex-N’Sync member behind the wheel of an A1 to “save a life” will sell more cars. The series is called The Next Big Thing.
Here’s the synopsis, straight from Audi:
“Justin Timberlake is John Frank, a straight-laced IT specialist. He meets the mysterious Toni, played by Dania Ramirez. John can save her life. More is revealed in steps – that’s the idea. The tension builds until the finale – the final episode. There’s never a dull moment between episodes on the Internet, either. Interactive elements provide secrets, details and background about each episode: users get to know the characters, see the film from unusual perspectives, and flashbacks fill in the plot.”
Right. If you’re so inclined, you can view each episode here. And the reasoning behind the films?
“The timing for the film was not chosen at random, as you will be able to order the A1 soon,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi Board Member for Marketing and Sales. “The film is action-packed and entertaining, perfectly suited to the young target group of our A1. At the same time the movie provides kind of a virtual test drive: it shows skillful handling, technical refinement and presents the self-assured design of the A1.”
It could be worse: they could try and promote the car using an iPhone app. Oh. Wait. That totally happened. My bad.
See part 1 of 6 after the jump. And just a reminder, you can’t buy an A1 if you live in North America – because we’re not getting it.
Audi really went all out to promote its new A1 at the Geneva Auto Show. Newly-signed brand ambassador Justin Timberlake gave Audi’s press conference star power, drawing one of the largest crowds on media day.
Unfortunately the pop star’s appearance was a little underwhelming in this reporter’s opinion.
Lesson #1: If you’re going to have one of the biggest stars on the planet promoting your brand, don’t stick him in a hole in the wall and out of sight of at least a third of the crowd. Just take a look in the gallery below. JT’s on the big screen, but if you look a bit to the left and squint, you can just about make out his hand holding the microphone.
Lesson #2: If you’re going to have a band set up on stage and you’re bringing in a pop star like JT, people will want to see him sing. They don’t want to see him introduce an alternative rock band from Sweden. Nothing wrong with Torpedo’s performance; they acquitted themselves quite well in fact. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be asked to perform when I’m the second most popular musical act on the stage.
Thankfully, the A1 put in a better performance than its co-star. Audi’s new sub-compact has MINI firmly in its sights. The small car (155.5-inches in length, 97.2-inch wheelbase, 68.5-inches wider and 56-inches tall) comes with four engine options.
Diesel options include two 1.6-liter versions with either 90-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque or 105-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque. Gasoline models get either a tiny 1.2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder with 86-hp and 118 ft-lbs of torque or a 1.4-liter TFSI with 122-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Five and six-speed manual transmissions come standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available.
But how does it perform? Let’s ask our man JT:
“It’s … fast. And, um … still an Audi.”
Lesson #3: Don’t let JT ad lib.
Gallery: Audi A1
JT will play a key roll in the upcoming A1 Internet marketing campaign
Who better to get across Audi’s “new luxury” message and help promote the youth-targeted A1 premium subcompact than Justin Timberlake. Audi has just announced that the pop star and aspiring actor has been named the luxury German automaker’s official brand ambassador.
In particular, JT will help with an extensive marketing plan that Audi will unveil over the next several months to help promote its new A1 premium subcompact, which will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March.
“As a superstar he appeals to a young target audience that we’re particularly intent on exciting about the compact and efficient A1,” said Audi board member Peter Schwarzenbauer. And the fact that JT’s image is as clean as it was when he as a mousketeer doesn’t hurt either.
This news also seems to potentially contradict a story we just published, stating that the A1 will not be offered in North America. While JT’s popularity is certainly global, it would seem silly for Audi to not use the superstar’s talent and influence in a market where he is best known.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Sketches and Graffiti Art
Official release after the jump: