If you watched the Emmy Awards on Fox Sunday, you might have noticed what looked like the trailer for either a film or a new TV series.
Instead, it was a short original drama called Untitled Jersey City Project, produced by Audi in cooperation with FX. The drama will play out in eight two-minute episodes over four Sundays during commercial time in primetime movies on FX beginning Sept. 25. The spot on the Emmy's urged viewers to go to the website, where the project is presented as if it's a series on FX.
For FX, the effort is an opportunity to show automakers they have better ways to break through the clutter and connect with a target audience, according to Michael Brochstein, senior VP for ad sales at FX.
"FX is a leading network against younger viewers and we're always trying to do something different in the automotive category," Brochstein says. "We embrace the clients that are coming to us early in the process and having discussions with us about what they can do on our air."
Spending by Audi on time to air both episodes of the drama and product commercials on FX is estimated to be in the mid seven figures.
Brochstein says campaigns like Audi's that don't look like typical commercials are also good for the network's audience. "Our viewers get a rich experience outside of our programming and we can keep viewers tuned to FX when a commercial break comes on," he said. "We want them to have in their head that something cool usually happens on FX."
While FX is known for original programming like Sons of Anarchy and Justified, Audi has targeted FX's movie lineup as a way to stand out from the competition. Movies that fit with Audi's target audience were scheduled for the next few Sundays.
Brochstein said FX's programming executives worked with Audi as the project was being filmed.
Audi will be running a promotional campaign that pushes viewers to watch the project on FX.
"Audi is excited to partner with FX Networks on this exciting new short-form original series," said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer of Audi of America. "Since our inception, Audi has embraced creativity, innovation and new ways of thinking. What better way to engage with our progressive audience than through forward-thinking entertainment."
The film is about an architectural firm involved in a building development on the Jersey City waterfront loaded with dark secrets. It was directed by Daniel Minahan, who also worked on HBO's True Blood and Game of Thrones.