Audi A3 gatherings target young, hip bacon lovers

Audi has instructed its dealers how to throw the perfect party to celebrate the launch of the A3. Music from recommended artists include: Chvrches, Grimes, Phantogram, Empire of the Sun, M83, Capital Cities, Cut Copy and DJ Classixx.
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Audi is planning blowout parties April 3 in New York and Los Angeles to mark the launch of the Audi A3, and it wants all of its dealers to throw their own get-togethers that night, either in-house or off-site.

Just don't expect cocktail wieners and classic rock.

Audi wants its dealers' A3 launch parties to appear to the car's target clientele: people from their mid-20s to early 40s.

In a 64-page directive to dealers obtained by Automotive News, Audi laid out instructions for virtually every aspect of its perfect party, prescribing an ultrahip formula of electronic music, minimalist design and gourmet hors d'oeuvres such as bacon-wrapped dates and desserts such as grilled cheese garnished with dark chocolate.

"We want to provide a unique experience for consumers - not only a reason for them to come in and drive the new A3, but also to come in and experience Audi," Loren Angelo, director of marketing at Audi of America, said in an interview.

Suggested hors d'oeuvres include portobello mushroom cannoli and shrimp lollipops with Thai chili sause. For desert: bacon and spice doughnuts.

Audi has high hopes for the A3 sedan and its ability to compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLA for the hearts of young luxury buyers. It's asking dealers to craft a guest list of people in their mid-20s to early 40s and engage with "influencers and tastemakers" to boost attendance. "The lifetime value these new customers bring to the future sustainable growth of our organization is immeasurable," Audi's guide says.

Black is the ideal backdrop color, as it "conveys the thrilling after-dark experience." Furniture should be black or white -- "avoid patterns." Lighting should be dimmed and white, with subtle red LED accents.

Alex Maier, marketing director at Sunset Audi near Portland, Ore., is planning one of the larger parties, with 500 to 600 guests in a World War II-era machine shop converted into an event space. Pyramid Breweries, a West Coast brewpub group, will serve craft beer. Snacks will include gazpacho shots and bacon chocolate-chip cookies.

An Audi dealer in the industrial Midwest, meanwhile, was still searching for young people to invite. Electronic music and quirky food won't resonate with the store's older clientele, but this dealer was determined to throw a good party.

"Some dealers are pooh-poohing this thing," said the dealer, who asked not to be named so as not to harm ties with Audi. "But I'm saying, what the hell? We haven't had a party in a while. We're going all out."

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com.


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