The Car Of A Generation
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry

The Car Of A Generation

How do you get the most influential motor journalist in the country to gladly take part in defining your new car model as the car for an entire generation?

Holmes Report

How do you get the most influential motor journalist in the country to gladly take part in defining your new car model as the car for an entire generation? And how do you get the busiest top ranked student in the country to line up to test drive it? And also get them to gladly spread the word in their own channels and forums?

For the critical Audi A1 launch in 2010 Audi Sweden developed a pioneer take on introducing a new car model. And by doing so exceeded all communication objectives.

We filmed the most influential motor journalists as they discuss the new Audi A1 in the context of historical generation cars so they could publish the film in their own media. This was a unique method, and it is virtually impossible to put a value to, but the content of the message had a big impact and helped build the hype around the car before the launch.

We got the journalists themselves to define the Audi A1 as the generation car for the 80´s generation. And once we had established Audi A1 as the generation car the next step was to make it relevant to the target audience.

By creating ”Test drive your idea”, we let the entrepreneurs of the new generation pitch their business ideas to business coaches during a test drive. This positioned Audi as an innovative car manufacturer for progressive and innovative people and the campaign was spread mostly through the target audience´s own channels at the universities, in career and entrepreneur blogs and in related forums and through social media.

Launch Audi A1 as a new car for a new generation of car owners. And reach them in their preferred media.

In 2010 Audi A1, the smallest model from Audi yet, was the most critical launch of the year. Audi A1 was a new-comer in an existing segment of well-established competitors like the Mini Cooper and Volvo C30. In addition Audi A1 also targeted young adults – an audience without any prior relations with car companies. And it was vital for Audi to get into non-motor related context and non-typical channels since the target audience for Audi A1 is not a big consumer of motor journalism.

Key insights
1) Those born in the 1980´s - the Generation Y are more individualistic and more entrepreneurial than earlier generations. For them business and entrepreneurship has become a way to express themselves alongside established forms of expressions such as fashion, music or film. Having a company is the new “being in a band”.

2) People love to discuss different generations and what it is that defines them. Within popular culture this is a well known phenomenon – we all can relate to a “generation novel” or a “generations film”. The same reasoning can be applied to cars.

3) Car retailers are often placed outside of the town centers that are hard to get to if you don’t already have a car. The threshold to test-drive a new car is therefore unnecessarily high for the new generation of car owners.

Place Audi A1 in a larger context together with historical cars that have been important for prior generations. And establish this image of the A1 early on in the launch before the journalists had had the opportunity to create their own image of the new car. Next step would then be to create awareness around the launch of the Audi A1 in channels that are important for the target audience, such as blogs, business media and on site at the universities.

1) Get Audi to own and define the term generation car. Audi A1 – The Generation car for a new generation of entrepreneurs and young professionals.

2) And prove the position by making the test drive into a one-to-one meeting with the hottest business coaches in the country – so they could testdrive their business ideas.

Hard goals
1) Get 1 000 young professionals and business students to engage in the launch of the Audi A1

2) Refer to Audi A1 as the new generation car for the 1980´s generation in 33 % of all coverage

3) Media diversity: at least 25 % of total coverage should be non-motor media

1) In June 2010 we asked Anders Parment, a university doctorate specialized in young people’s consumer behavior, to write a trend analysis describing what defines the 80´s generation and how their view on car ownership differ from earlier generations. His analysis quickly spread through blogs and in social media, together with quotes from Audi Sweden’s spokesperson and information about the new Audi A1.

2) From a selection of over 30 different car models from six decades we let the most influential technology and motor journalists in the country decide on the cars that defined each generation from the 1930´s to 1980’s. This was performed with a black board made out of felt and postcard-sized pictures of the 30 different cars. The journalists own definition of the historical generation cars was filmed and then published through their own channels and was spread through bloggers and in social media.

3) To engage the new generation car owners in the launch of the Audi A1 and in order to get them to test-drive the car, we combined the test-drives with an entrepreneurial competition – “Test drive your idea”. The entrepreneurial competition was performed at universities and in the central town of Stockholm, together with some of Sweden’s most successful business coaches, who all volunteered to be involved.

The execution of the entrepreneurial competition was simple. As you drove the Audi A1 you also had the chance to pitch your business idea to the business coach, who was sat in the passenger seat. The experienced coach gave feedback on the idea and suggestions how to go forward. When the test drive was over, you filled in a simple questionnaire to compete with your idea.

4) Since the test-drives were limited to sites in Stockholm it was also possible to compete with a business idea by registering it through the same questionnaire on the campaign site, (

5) The grand finale was held at the Audi Forum in central Stockholm. Over 150 business students and young entrepreneurs came to the event, many of them hoping to win. A prominent jury finally decided on five winners that got six months to develop and realize their idea – together with their assigned business coach. The five winners and their further development of their ideas together with their business coach can be followed on the campaign site and on the campaigns Facebook-page.
Publicity results (exceeded)
Estimated media coverage 150 590 EUR
Return of investment: 361 %
Diversity of publicity: 73 % of coverage was in non-motor media

Message results (exceeded)
Messages were Audi A1 addresses as a generation car for the generation ‘80s: 58 %.
Messages were Audi A1 is mentioned in a business context: 54 %.

Interactive results (exceeded)
Five of Sweden’s most influential motor and technology journalists reasoned their way to the results of historical generation cars (!).
Five of Sweden’s top business coaches volunteered to take part of the campaign.
3000 + interactions with young professionals and business students during the campaign period

View Style:

Load 3 More
comments powered by Disqus