The value of Vorsprung durch Technik over four decades

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2020

This paper identifies consistent themes behind effective Audi UK advertising from 1982 to 2019. Building on the brand purpose of Vorsprung durch Tecknik (‘progress through technology’), communications succeeded in elevating the auto brand from the mass market to the prestige sector and defended its position as most desired prestige brand. Unvarying principles included the use of ‘hero’ car models ‘with personality’ in creative and the choice of film to convey premium values. Audi UK grew its sales faster than other European Audi markets and the UK car sector as a whole. It is estimated that since 1982 communications returned £2.33 per £1 invested.

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As Vorsprung durch Technik soon turns 40 we reflect on an incredible journey. Most of us were still children or twinkles in our parents' eyes when this story began. While Audi has always had the engineering prowess, in the early 80s it lagged the premium image to go with the price tag for all the finely-tuned kit. Over four decades that all changed. In the UK Audi is now considered more desirable than BMW and Mercedes, and our price point is now up there with our competitors. How did we get there? Through incredible cars, first and foremost. But also through that other thing engineered into all Audi cars, three words that mean the belief in progress through technology. Through our brand and the communications this made the cars more famous and moved people emotionally, all the way to the showrooms. There are millions of Audi cars on the road now as a result. What have we learned? Company values and beliefs matter. They help steer us in a changing world. VDT is often the guide through any decision. Going long matters. We must keep looking up and out, especially as a premium brand. Data and people matter. Science and art matter. When these two are put together in the right mix you can really Vorsprung. Thank you to all the guardians over the years for everything that made Audi UK what it is today. As you can see, it worked a treat.

Anna Russell, National Brand & Retail Marketing Lead

Winners 2020

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The value of Vorsprung durch Technik over four decades







Principal Authors

  • Will Lion - BBH
  • Thomas Gwin - BBH

Contributing Authors

    Credited Companies

    • The Effectiveness Partnership - Other|Consultant Authors

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