Viral Video Brand Permission
In this soon to be viral video an electric mower drags guy across a yard, into the street and then in front of a truck. The only thing else the video does is super impose the website address http://www.electricityuntamed.com which redirects to http://www.audiusa.com . There you get a slick presentation on electricity facts and a countdown clock to 9/15/09 that leads you to believe that Audi is coming out with an electric car. Audi is using a cheesy funny viral video to drive traffic to their website and there's nothing wrong with that. But there is a disconnect for me. I own a luxury car but I want an electric car. I like the look of the Audi Q7 SUV. I like viral videos. I am the perfect consumer to want an electric car from Audi. What's not working for me with this video? Brand permission. A brand is a promise. The Audi brand has a promise of luxury. Their website looks luxurious. Their cars look luxurious. But this viral video looks like a beer commercial. In the 1990's Ford came out with the Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer package and sold many of those cars because they had brand permission. Although I've never seen one, I have been told that Ford also created a Ford Explorer with a MTV Package. That car did not sell in the US nor was it meant to but I have been told it did very well in Brazil where it had brand permission. Does Audi have brand to make a luxury electric car? Absolutely. Does Audi have brand permission to make this viral video? Well, I think Audi has as about as much brand permission of doing this viral video as they do in sponsoring an episode of French Maid TV. It makes no sense and it cheapens their brand. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fun viral video. I just don't think it's right for Audi. Now if it had been done for a car brand that was targeted at a younger crowd I think it might have brand permission and be a brand fit. What do you think and have you seen any other brand disconnects in viral videos?