How Audi and Airbnb Took Fan Experience to Unprecedented Heights

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In early August, Audi and Airbnb gave fans the opportunity of a lifetime.

The pitch side home presented by Audi and Airbnb (Via Audi Mediacenter)

When it comes to promotions, delivering an opportunity that is not only unique, but memorable can create a lifetime of memories.

That is exactly what Audi and Airbnb did when they had the chance to partner up for the Audi Cup that took place in early August.

Four months prior to that, both companies’ creative teams got to work.

As a result of this partnership, Allianz Arena was transformed into a special home for a few football fans for the duration of the Audi Cup, featuring Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, and Napoli.

Christian Guenther, Communications Culture/Trends at Audi, explained how this partnership came to fruition.

“Audi and Airbnb were partnering for the second time this August during the Audi Cup. The first time was an unforgettable stay in Death Valley and the chance to drive the Audi R8 Coupe, as part of the Emmy Awards sponsorship in September 2016. ‘Night at Audi Cup’ was the next chapter of partner projects between Audi and Airbnb. Fans had the chance to win an overnight stay directly on the sidelines and be able to watch the games on both match days from their temporary home at the Allianz Arena.”

The winning family was given the opportunity to catch four matches over the two-day span and spend the night in between. Airbnb set up a pitch-side home consisting of two bedrooms and a bathroom, where the family would spend a majority of their time.

When they weren’t in their quaint, pop-up home, they were training on the pitch, touring the stadium, or test driving one of the latest Audi models. Jerome Boateng, World Champion FC Bayern Munich defender and Audi brand ambassador, was their overnight host.

Following the first days’ events and the departure of the crowd, the family was treated to a private late-night Bavarian feast. Then, they slept somewhere no other fan has ever slept, on the pitch of the Allianz Arena.

“We are always seeking for innovative, unique approaches according to our Audi ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ DNA,” said Guenther. “A good example is the Audi Player Index. Fans have the opportunity to follow the game in a way that was never possible before. The analytical tool takes into account positions, location and game-specific data in real time and evaluates the individual performance of the players.”

Audi’s dedication to advancement/progression through technology allows them to continuously create incredible experiences. They went as far as sending “Jack”, the Audi A7 piloted driving concept, to pick the family up from the airport and take them to the arena.

This once in a lifetime experience started with a contest in which fans were to write an artistic, creative story introducing their family and telling their most memorable football related moment. Airbnb created a posting for the experience that can be seen here.

As the Airbnb marketing team sifted through the numerous entries, they searched for the most original and creative one they could find. When they stumbled upon an entry by a Bavarian family with two young boys, they found exactly what they were looking for.

The winning family taking in matchday one of the Audi Cup (via Christian Nyari on Twitter)

Eric Ginsberg, Vice President of Digital Strategy at MKTG, offered his thoughts on the promotion.

“There have been hundreds of iterations of your standard seat upgrade, but Airbnb has elevated things to a whole new level. They have built a concept that’s inherently shareworthy and so well tied to their core product offering. This is one of those promotions where not just the grand prizewinner is positively impacted; it’s going to have an enormous halo effect because the experience is remarkable. If we’re not organically driving conversation, what’s the point?”

Pregame field passes are great. Club seats are fun. Some baseball teams even offer seats in the old bullpen or suites behind home plate. But, none of those come anywhere close to this pitch-side home. This is the type of intimate fan experience that gets people talking and brings extra value to the sport. This experience in particular will serve as a catalyst to more innovative fan experiences in the future.

“The main target was to create an unexpected, unique experience for football fans and to make international top players accessible to fans. Partnerships like this enable both sides to explore new ideas and creativity and to learn from each other,” said Guenther.

Audi achieved their goal and more with this promotion. They created something that shook up the sports world, and something that others can look to and learn from as we head into 2018.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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