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How Audi engaged fans with technology at Goodwood

July 24, 2014

Audi used Ocular Rift virtual reality technology at Goodwood Audi used Ocular Rift virtual reality technology at Goodwood


Audi UK leveraged virtual reality technology and various digital installations to enhance the consumer experience at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The event draws more than 100,000 racing enthusiasts who are being pulled in many directions by competing brands. Brands that want to leave a lasting impact on consumers must begin to leverage technology in ways that supplement the physical experience rather than supplant it.

"Audi UK and Somo used Goodwood as a showcase for new, innovative technologies," said Hugh Fletcher, national digital manager at Audi UK, Milton Keynes, Britain. "However, it’s not just about new tech being used at an amazing event.

"Innovation is nothing unless it can be commercialized and operationalized, so the proof of the success should be seen in a few years’ time when some, or all, of these technologies are considered a standard part of the Audi customer experience," he said.

"The digital lecterns were widely used and very well received by visitors at the Audi stand. This is the third year the lecterns have been used at Goodwood as well as other events. As the content is run from Audi's central CMS, the intention is for the lecterns to be used at a wider range of events moving forward."

Standing out

The festival can be a crowded place during its four days in Goodwood. All brands present have rare and expensive models arrayed on the lawns, trying to earn the attention of attendees.

However, to differentiate the experience from a regular showroom experience, brands have to find ways to incorporate technology.

Audi recruited mobile agency Somo to devise useful interaction tactics.

First, the brand set up digital lecterns all throughout its display area. These iPad lecterns house all the information an attendee would want to know about the cars on display and the brand overall. Fans can spend a few quiet moments viewing multimedia or just learning about different models before delving into the actual cars.


Audi's digital lecterns at Goodwood

Audi then equipped concierge members with iPads to book test drives and follow-up sessions with consumers.


Audi concierge members

The King of Quattro program also leveraged an iPad app for a driving game. During this program, fans drove along a rugged course in one of the Q models and were graded on their driving performance by the app's speed and movement measuring capabilities.


King of Quattro at Goodwood

A leaderboard was then set up that displayed the best drivers, creating a competitive atmosphere for fans.


In-car King of Quattro scoreboard

Audi also used Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, to give fans an on-track experience.


Oculus Rift experience

Attendees donned the visor and headphones and were transported to an Audi RS 6 on the silverstone racetrack.

Finally, a winner from a Twitter contest spent the day with Google Glass, hopping into helicopters, exploring the grounds and livestreaming the footage to social media users.


Google Glass experience

Audi regularly works with Somo.

Audi and Somo at Goodwood

Winning with digital

Although luxury automakers receive immense traffic at auto shows, there are certain tactics that can meaningfully increase engagement.

The proximity of so many competitors can diminish the impact of a single brand. Consequently, automakers should incorporate unexpected activities or technologies into their display areas to generate new conversations (see story).

Although car shows are similar to festivals in many ways, the atmosphere tends to be more lively at places like Goodwood. However, effectively integrated technology can enhance any event.

"Ultimately, we want these technologies to help and inform our customers in more everyday circumstances, such as when they visit our showrooms to buy or service their cars," Mr. Fletcher said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, staff writer on Luxury Daily, New York