This is how you buy a car–Audi City

July 18, 2012

We have been playing around with new ways of interaction for a while and touch and Natural user interfaces always played a big role in it.

Some of the work we can done can be found on our blog here and here, on the razorfish emerging experiences blog here and there is plenty more as well.

So we are always interested when this kind of technology and innovation makes it into the real world. Yesterday the Audi City in London opened up and is showing off how you will buy your next Audi by using touch, Kinect and RDID.

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Audi at the moment sells 36 different new cars and with all of the customization you can do there are something like 200 million possible iterations of those and obviously you can’t have that many cars in the show room.

So what if you could customize your new car the way you want and then see if life size drive past you on a 210 inch screen – awesome, yes!

Audi City has multiple levels, with the upstairs level having 4 of those floor to ceiling screens. Check out their vision in the video below:

2 of the screens have kinect sensors connected to them so you can interact with it with gestures, a directional sound system makes sure you are not disturbed by other potential buyers on the other screen (or vice versa) and it lets you experience the engine sound and the sounds of closing doors.

A touch screen then takes over where you can easily customize every single aspect of your new car, down to the colour of your gear stick. Spin it, turn it, zoom it – all of that is possible with high resolution imagery and the touch panel.

Paint, leather and cloth samples on RFID-enabled swatches can be grabbed from the wall and placed next to the 32in touch screen, automatically updating your vehicle with the choice you’ve made.

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Once you’re happy with your choices it generates a mood board with hi-res snaps and videos of your chosen car, which can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, emailed to a friend, or stored on a USB key.

Audi plans to roll the 3M multitouch screens out to dealerships all over the world, and to create 20 Audi Cities by 2015. I for one can’t wait for the one in Australia to be opened.

@maniac13


An Audi R8 image PR nightmare in Google

August 4, 2008

This is a classic example of things going wrong for a brand. I just watched a Top Gear clip of the Audi R8 which inspired me to do a quick search in Google for “r8″…

Oh dear… it’s an SEO (Search engine optimisation) branding nightmare – the first image that jumps up is a burnt out Audi R8. Given that around 97% of car purchases now involve some online research, this is not what you want people to see straight up.

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The unfortunate Audi R8 image that would send shivers down the Audi marketing team’s spines…
 
So what do you do when Image Search Results go bad?
Here’s some small tips for a healthy life in the chaotic land of Search / SEO:
1. Listen | Observe – this means keeping an eye on what’s coming up in your search results. If you don’t know about it, you can’t fix it.
2. Play a role in the community especially the blogosphere – make sure high ranking sites carry correctly named/tagged images that will index in search. Know the bloggers that influence your results.
3. Optimise your own site as much as possible for images, meta data and other techniques. There are many companies (including ours, plug plug) that can help with this.
4. SEM – Make sure your search engine marketing is in place (in the instance above I did not receive any SEM ads whatsoever.
5. Run a Digital PR campaign. There are various creative techniques which could encourage a large amount of people to get involved with images that are positive for your brand.
6. Provide assets to the masses. Allow users to take your images (the ones you want seen) and distribute freely.
7. Use the social networks. Nothing stopping brands playing a role in the community in an open transparent manner.
8. Create an official Blog. A properly maintained, healthy blog by a brand can do wonders in search. Bear in  mind a blog needs to work (have great content, audience participation and avoid the corporate BS).
9. Talk to Google. Whilst they’re not going to change their indexing algorithms they are a helpful and good natured company and may be able to offer advice.
10. Talk to the site which houses the bad image/content. They may be quite happy to run another more positive story to help, without compromising or asking them to delete their original content. (Avoid censorship – that would be a big no-no).

Unfortunately bad news is big news. If a big ranking site pushes something you don’t like in Search, the only surefire method is to outgun that site in the digital space …and this is a time consuming game.

The lowdown for brands to prevent a search disaster:
Make sure you have a digital strategy, an SEO / SEM strategy, the assets to make it work, a team that is watching …and get it in place as early as possible.