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Audi of America uses mobile to reach new consumers

Carmaker Audi of America has launched an iPhone application geared toward reaching a new demographic of consumers.

The "Truth in 24" driving application, developed by Factory Design Labs, Denver, challenges iPhone and iPod touch players to monitor fuel use and tire wear. It also offers rich graphics and a new driver's point of view.

"Our strategy is to reach new consumers via a device they enjoy, and an app that is also fun and engaging [and] provides an excellent branding opportunity for Audi," said Jeri B. Ward, general manager of marketing and strategy for Audi.

Early reviews have pegged Truth in 24 as one of the best racing films ever made. It has already collected awards at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa.

The plot centers on the 2008 duel between upstart Peugeot and the Audi teams that had won seven of the previous 24 Hours of Le Mans competitions. What makes the documentary so compelling, though, is the storytelling of NFL Films helped by behind-the-scenes access.

The application was launched in combination with the release of the Le Mans documentary, "Truth in 24."

The application is a natural extension of the film. Using the iPhone's accelerometer, players will experience one of the world's most notorious races, the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Players have the option of honing their driving skills in practice mode before actually putting their skills to the test in the featured Endurance mode.

Racers compete against the clock, opposing racecars and obstacles.

What does the application do for the Audi brand?

"We know that our owners and potential buyers are tech-savvy, connected individuals," Ms. Ward said.

In fact, 95 percent of all mobile traffic to last year came from an iPhone or iPod Touch.

"What better device to showcase our spirit of innovation," Ms. Ward said.

This is not Audi's first foray into mobile.

In September Audi released the A4 driving game. It was heralded by Apple as one of its best of 2008 postings on the iTunes Store. And with more than 3.2 million consumer downloads worldwide so far, it means people are enjoying it and connecting with Audi.

The Audi A4 also has a dedicated iPhone site

In March Audi teamed up with CBS for the NCAA Bracket app. Around the same time, the carmaker also launched a mobile site for the Q5.

"Mobile is an excellent accompaniment to our other consumer communications, allowing consumers to develop a deeper engagement with the brand," Ms. Ward said.