Audi introduced its advertising tag line, "Never Follow," under Berkov. Last year, Berkov helped develop Audi's "Art of the Heist" Internet promotion, which asked Web visitors to solve the fictional theft of an Audi A3 from a Manhattan showroom. He sent bloggers across the country in an A3 and asked them to document the trip.
Berkov has pushed Audi deeper into branded entertainment -- the inclusion of vehicles in the content of TV shows and movies, video games and other entertainment. He espouses what he calls acupuncture or pinpoint marketing, which he defines: "You go narrow and deep."
Berkov disbanded Audi's e-business team, which he said "blurred the brand too much." His 10-person team also took on customer relationship management.
Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America executive vice president, is overseeing the marketing changes. He has said he plans to move Audi out of the Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters of Volkswagen of America Inc. to make the brand more independent.
Daniel Gorrell, vice president of Strategic Vision, a San Diego consulting firm, says Audi has a good opportunity to expand its reach in trend-setting California. The company's challenges, he says, include building brand awareness and elevating consumer perceptions of the quality of Audi vehicles.
Last month, Audi sold 7,120 vehicles in the United States -- a 10.3 percent increase over May 2005. In the first five months of 2006, Audi reported U.S. sales of 32,416 vehicles -- a 6.3 percent increase over the year-ago period.
Audi spent nearly $101.4 million to advertise in U.S. media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. That was a 27.4 percent increase from 2004, TNS says.
Berkov spent $15.7 million to advertise the new A3 in traditional media last year. He also oversaw buzz-building online campaigns for the small car. Those interactive campaigns helped boost Audi's Web site traffic to new heights.
Audi is launching ads for its Q7 SUV. Berkov told Advertising Age in April that the ads include an "auditory brand signature
an unforgettable chord."
Audi this month concluded a 10-city "Streets of Tomorrow" tour for the Q7. It offered test drives in high-end settings that included gourmet food, live entertainment and travel lectures.
You may e-mail Jean Halliday at [email protected]