Audi Extends ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tie-In to Movie Product Placement Deal

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Just like the principals in the novel, Audi is getting maximum exposure in the lead-up to the film release of Fifty Shades of Grey by Universal Pictures for the highly anticipated product placement deal the automaker has struck to feature no fewer than five different Audi models in the movie.

The reason? Audi vehicles just so happen to be the favorite automotive playthings of Fifty Shades protagonist, playboy Christian Grey. Not only does he own several himself, but he gives one as a gift to the object of his affections, Anastasia Steele—making product placement for the film version an obvious fit. The kinky duo are played by Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in the movie, which just released its official trailer (watch below).[more]

Indeed, in the annals of in-context “dream roles” for automobiles, Audi’s coup has to be right up there with the Batmobile and Fast and Furious.

Fifty Shades author E L James gave Audi the star treatment in her first book and sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, which have collectively become one of the best-selling book series in history, collectively selling more than 100 million copies in e-books and in print.

So the adoration of Audi in the movie won’t seem like a stretch, especially compared to the brand’s other placement gambit with Iron Man, when tech industrialist Tony Stark drove various versions of the Audi R8 sports car in all three Iron Man movies. Nothing in the Iron Man comic-book series dictated that Stark needed to drive an actual R8 or even an Audi, which also makes a cameo appearance in the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.

“It was a natural fit for Audi to be part of Fifty Shades of Grey as it’s brought to new life in theaters,” stated Loren Angelo, director of marketing for Audi of America, in a press release. “Audi is a brand that symbolizes performance, technology and modern design. The natural inclusion of our hottest models in this [book] series illustrates how Audi has become synonymous with sophisticated luxury.”

Angelo told brandchannel that, “given the instant success of the books, and Audi’s starring role with them, the vehicles appearing in the big-screen adaptation made sense for the brand. Throughout the series, the vehicles are positioned as sophisticated and luxurious, and we look forward to further showcasing these features through the stunning cars that appear in the film.”

Audi models featured in Fifty Shades will range from a version of the new Audi A3 sedan, which is giving the Mercedes-Benz CLA and BMW 1 Series a stiff challenge in the entry-level luxury market, to the Audi R8 V10 Spyder quattro S Tronic 5.2 L, which vrooms from zero to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds with the potential to reach a top speed of up to 195 mph.

But even as fast as that is, it’s not too fast for Fifty Shades. But Angelo expressed no reservations about the movie placement strengthening Audi’s connection with such a salacious brand.

The Audi vehicles in the movie, Angelo said, “demonstrate the lifestyle of a wealthy, forward-thinking entrepreneur,” and the lives of the protagonists “have become a cultural phenomenon that has attracted so many fans around the world—and what better brand than Audi to bring to life the story and this sentiment on the big screen.”

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[Images via Audi, BrandsAndFilms.com]

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