PARIS - Audi is using an unlikely co-branding scheme to bolster the French launch campaign for its new A2.
The German carmaker has linked up with Procter & Gamble Co.'s brand Mr. Clean.
Audi's French advertising agency Louis XIV, Paris, requested and received permission from household product giant Procter & Gamble to use Mr. Clean in advertisements for the A2.
Agency sources say that co-branding with Mr. Clean fits neatly with the A2 strategy put in place by Louis XIV, which focuses on the environmental attributes of the new car, the smallest model in the Audi lineup.
The A2 is Audi's first high-volume aluminum car and is designed to broaden Audi's customer base by appealing to women and younger drivers.
A print advertisement now running in French national newspapers introduces the A2 to French consumers. The A2 is shown traveling beneath an outdoor billboard featuring Mr. Clean, who studies the car as it drives by.
Amsterdam-based advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy handled the A2 launch campaign in June, but the lead European agency is now Saatchi & Saatchi, Frankfurt.
Louis XIV hopes that its advertisement for the new Audi will benefit from the high recognition of Mr. Clean, who has been converted from a representative of a staid cleaning brand to a youth and gay icon in recent years.
The image of Mr. Clean - a bald cleaner with earrings - is now a regular sight at trendy Parisian discos, where he appears on T-shirts handed out by youth marketing specialist ID 15-24, Paris.