The etymology of Audi—a word, which when translated back to its Latin root, literally means ‘listen’—lends itself very well to basic principles that define success in social media. After all, what is social media when it really comes down to it?


It’s listening to people. It’s actually hearing what they want, what they have to say. Taking into account their needs, their opinions, their complaints and adoration alike.


Like many brands on Twitter, Audi had a follower that wanted something. This follower was Julie McCoy, aka – @jmdc88. The problem: She wanted something that was out of her reach—something out of reach for roughly 99% of fans, followers, and car fans everywhere. She wanted to experience the Audi R8. Her persistence enabled her to rally her entire social graph for support. She even coined her very own hashtag to reflect the desire:




And after months of seeing this hashtag appear in our Twitter timeline, we decided to then show up at her door, drop off an Audi R8 for the weekend, and film her experience. But it didn’t end there. Audi purchased a promoted trend with #WantAnR8 and more than 50,000 people tweeted the hashtag in 24 hours. We then chose 5 additional Audi fans from this pool of #WantAnR8 requests, to experience (if only for a weekend) what it would be like to own Audi’s halo car.


It was a campaign that achieved tremendous success because of its pure simplicity. Our followers wanted an R8, so we gave them a chance to experience it.


It was a pure Twitter campaign. It was fulfilling a challenge from Audi to increase both awareness and desire of the Audi R8, but it did so in a completely reactive and naturally organic fashion.


Marketing speak and social do not mix. A brand’s followers are more intelligent than that.


The volume of voice was instant and massive. The official Audi Twitter account grew over 200% during the week of the promoted trend. The #WantAnR8 conversation continues on—even today, receiving over 100,000,000 impressions since its inception. It currently stands as the third best performing promoted trend ever, and as having one of the most engaging tweets of all-time – a massive 50.4% engagement.


The #WantAnR8 campaign is alive and active. What started as a simple social media listening exercise is now evolving into an Audi marketing campaign that will extend beyond the Audi communities on Twitter and Facebook. The next stage in its development comes in the form of a nationally syndicated television spot, wherein the next phase of #WantAnR8 begins. A second promoted trend (March 22, 2012) ushers in new opportunities for fans and followers to engage with Audi and the Legendary R8.


Do you #WantAnR8?


#WantAnR8 Drives Video: http://audi.us/twf6WH