Audi Super Bowl Ad Claims First Use of Twitter Hashtag

Audi is claiming a first in Super Bowl advertising: The inclusion of a Twitter hashtag at the end of its 60-second TV spot.

The hashtag “#ProgressIs” will flash during the automaker’s ad in the first break after kick-off Sunday. Viewers who use that hashtag and the URL in their tweets will enter a contest with the grand prize of a trip to Sonoma, California, for a test drive of the Audi R8 supercar later this month. Audi will also award $25,000 to a charity on behalf of the grand prize winner.

The theme “ProgressIs” is based on the automaker’s new brand positioning, which revolves around the theme expressed in the brand’s new tagline: “Luxury has progressed.” The Super Bowl ad, promoting the A8 sedan, will feature two well-dressed inmates trying to escape from a luxury prison. It also features a cameo by soft jazz icon Kenny G. (The company, hoping to keep an aura of mystery around the ad, isn’t releasing any further details.)

A rep for Audi, says that the company intends to spark conversations on Twitter about what progressive luxury is. The rep added that she believes that no one has ever used a Twitter hashtag during a Super Bowl spot. “From all our research, it looks like we’re the first ones.”

In addition to the Twitter promotion, Audi will also launch a Facebook program around the theme of an estate sale, where fans can try to tag items shown in that Super Bowl ad. The grand prize for that contest is the same as for the Twitter contest: the R8 test drive in Sonoma.

Audi is one of a handful of Super Bowl advertisers offering a Twitter tie-in this year. Bridgestone is planning to run Promoted Tweets during the game, according to spokeswoman Angela Patterson. Mercedes-Benz has also launched “The World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race,” which features four two-person teams racing to the game in Dallas from various points 1,500 miles away. The winning team is the one that generated the most Twitter activity during the contest.

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