American Marketer

Events / Causes

Audi transforms defining fan stories during live-stream event

May 2, 2014

Video still from Paid my Dues Video still from #PaidMyDues


Audi of America is gathering fan tales of adversity and resilience for a live-stream event May 7 in Santa Monica, CA, directed by creative figures such as artists, designers and musicians.

The massive community-driven initiative is an extension of the "Paid my Dues" campaign that heralded the debut of the A3. As Audi repositions its entry-level vehicles to appeal to a broader audience, tapping the universal theme of overcoming obstacles will likely resonate.

"The stories we’ve received so have come from people all over the country," said Andrew Lipman, general manager of communications for Audi of America, New York.

"It’s been inspiring to read so many accounts of individuals who have truly paid their dues to achieve success – quitting a job to pursue a lifelong dream, going back to college, overcoming illness," he said.

"We are excited to see how our creative partners will reimagine these stories next Wednesday."

Share your story

The parameters of the campaign are broad. Fans are asked to submit stories of times when they displayed creativity, ingenuity and courage.


Video still from #PaidMyDues

Photos, videos or text are all suitable entry formats and participants can enter on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine or Google+ with the hashtag #PaidMyDues. Stories will be aggregated on


Video still from #PaidMyDues

The most inspiring of these stories will be transformed and illuminated in some way by various "creators" that include musician Money Mark; rapper Oddisee; songwriter Ben Landis; comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company; graffiti artist MADSTEEZ; illustrators Church of Type; chef Jordan Kahn; artist Jim Mahfood; art collective Sumi Ink Club; director Gui Marcondes; filmmakers Oh Yeah Wow; technology creators MachineHistories; illustrator Lisa Hanawalt; designer Alex Turvey; and DJ Dam-Funk.

"We wanted to have a group of diverse individuals from a cross section of creative communities: art, film, food, music and more," Mr. Lipman said.

"Each creative partner involved in this event is a leader in their field and represents the uncompromised spirit of the all-new A3," he said.

Comedian and television host Nikki Glaser will host the event on May 7th at

The creators will reimagine the stories for six hours in the Santa Monica Aiport's Hangar 8. Afterwards, the creations will be auctioned off for charity through eBay Giving Works.

In a promotional video for the initiative, an entrepreneur, actor and surfer recount how they surmounted obstacles to find success.

#PaidMyDues: Curated by the all-new Audi A3

The original multichannel campaign revolved around a television spot featuring comedian Ricky Gervais and various other celebrities to convey ideas such as resilience and authenticity (see story).

Innovative terrain

Audi has advanced other innovative ideas during its A3 campaign.

For instance, the brand celebrated the launch of its entry-level A3 model with hologram-enhanced performances by musicians M.I.A. and Janelle Monáe.

The automaker used 3D projection mapping technology to fuse together the events in New York and Los Angeles on April 3. As M.I.A. performed in New York and Janelle Monáe performed in Los Angeles, they were joined on stage by a real-time hologram version of the other (see story).

"The easiest way to get people to contribute content is to ask them to share their stories," said Ian Greenleigh, director of marketing at visual commerce company Olapic, New York.

"This idea applies to snapping outfit selfies just as well as it applies to sharing formative experiences," he said. "I think fans will light up at the opportunity to let the world know how they’ve 'paid their dues.'

"[To extend the campaign,] incorporate the actual user-generated content into the 'finished' product. It’s great to see brands like Audi finding new ways to work with UGC, but this is powerful stuff even in its raw form.

"Authenticity is what lends UGC its appeal, and brands need to create contexts in which that authenticity shines through and reaches people."

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York