Illuminating Audi’s latest advancements

Instead of another global adapt, a new campaign projects the Q7's innovation (without the use of special effects).


Audi Canada is using some top-of-the-line technology to show of the capabilities of the Q7 SUV, but the ad isn’t using the CGI or special effects you might be expecting.

The new Audi Q7 model launched at the beginning of the year, with marketing in Canada using an adaptation of the “Greatness starts when you don’t stop” platform that has also been used in several other global markets and focuses primarily on performance for the SUV, the largest model in Audi’s lineup. However, Christian Schueller, director of marketing and digital innovation at Audi Canada, says the company believes the Q7 has raised the bar for the company in terms of things like technology and innovation and there was an opportunity to create a campaign that spoke more to those elements of the car.

Spearheaded by agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, the “Projection of Greatness” video below shows an Audi Q7 driving around the snowy roads of Alberta’s Fortress Mountain. As it goes along, lights burst away from the car and form a vibrant outline that races across the mountain on its own. It reveals the engineering that powers its four-wheel drive and rear wheel steering systems, shows off the LED headlights and bursts through a projection of the car’s virtual cockpit digital display system, before rejoining with the “real” Q7 and coming to a stop on one of the mountain’s ledges.

The spot was created entirely with practical effects and no CGI, using projection-mapping software and high-power video projectors to display the images directly onto the mountain environment and snow, all of which was captured and made to look 3D using precise framing and low-light cameras.

Zulu worked with production partners Sherpas Cinema and Go2 Productions to bring the concept to life. Media buying is being handled by MediaCom, with adaptation for the French market by Tank.

The campaign also features five- and 15-second cuts for social media, as well as digital OOH. There is also a behind-the-scenes video showing just how the effects in the spot were created.

Tech and innovation have been a priority for Audi to differentiate itself in the increasingly competitive luxury car market. In addition to the things highlighted in the video, it has launched things like a “traffic jam assist” which automatically adjusts cruising speed and allows for periods of self-driving when in congested traffic. Even long-standing engineering feats, like four-wheel drive, are constantly being updated and improved with each new model.

“Our motto is ‘vorsprung durch technik’ ['advancement through technology'] and that’s part of our DNA,” Schueller says. “If our engineers and designers are creating amazing cars, we need to reflect that in the way we talk to people and show them how we embrace tech and can use it in a certain way in everything else we do.”

Schueller adds that it was important for the company to highlight an SUV heading into the winter months, as four-wheel drive makes it particularly well-suited to handle Canadian winters, and the Q7 got the nod because it is the latest and most advanced in the company’s Quattro line of SUVs.

This isn’t the first time Zulu has used practical effects to pull off an impressive-looking feat with an Audi. Two years ago, it supported the launch of the Audi Q3 with the “Tight Parking” spot that showed off the crossover’s agility in an urban environment by driving it up a wall to make it into an impossibly tight parking spot.