Audi Rides to L.A. With HGTV

High-end real estate agents help sell luxury cars in new series
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As HGTV expands its upscale real estate franchise, Audi is going along for the ride. The automaker is following up on its sponsorship of Selling New York, which included a vignette featuring an agent from the show, with another vignette and integrations in the new series Selling LA.

Last year, Audi broadened its marketing efforts from car performance enthusiasts who are men to an audience including women who appreciate design, making HGTV’s female-skewing, upscale viewers very attractive, according to John Dailey, VP, east region ad sales for the network.

At the same time, HGTV was moving in a more stylish direction with Selling New York, a show with an urban, cutting-edge sensibility. “Our priorities dovetailed so neatly, and as they have experienced success, we have experienced success,” Dailey says.

Rather than simply integrating Audi models into Selling New York, HGTV worked with Audi and its media buying agency, MediaCom, to create a vignette featuring Shaun Osher, president of the real estate agency spotlighted on the show. The vignette aired not only during Selling New York, but during other shows in the HGTV lineup, as well as on other sister Scripps Networks channels Food Network and DIY Network, expanding Audi’s reach that much further.

Audi scored record sales, so after Selling LA got the green light, HGTV gave the automaker a first look at the new show. The result: Audi significantly increased its investment in HGTV and is now one of the five biggest spenders among automakers on the channel, Dailey says.

“The synergy between urban real estate/design and the styling of [Audi’s top-of-the-line] A8 was a smart way to showcase this vehicle to HGTV viewers—an audience who cares about design,” says Scott Keogh, CMO at Audi of America. “The A8 is an impressive vehicle in any setting, so it made sense to extend the relationship into the next city featured in Selling LA.”

In January, HGTV will start airing a new Audi vignette featuring Los Angeles real estate agent Kennon Earl, who will be not so much endorsing the Audi as creating an association. “It’s an association with the qualities that [Earl] needs to be selling to his customers of design, innovation and luxury,” Dailey says. Not coincidentally, those are also the key points Audi makes in its marketing messages.

Audi models will also be integrated into two episodes of Selling LA starting in January. The vehicles will be sitting in the driveways of the ritzy properties the agents will be trying to sell on the show.

E-mail comments to jlafayette@nbmedia.com and follow him on Twitter: @jlafayette

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