Audi is one of those automakers that relies heavily on using only letters and numbers to name its cars (okay, now they have the e-tron, which kind of resembles a word, I suppose).
One benefit of a short alphanumeric name is that it translates nicely into a relatively short URL to promote a site section dedicated to each model. And that’s exactly what we’ll see in the quartet of Audi ads in this exciting episode (spoiler: it’s not that exciting, sorry).
We’ll start with the A3, the smallest car Audi sells in the United States, with this ad from a June 2005 magazine:
This is the first of three in this article that feature this whole “greater than”/”less than” ad campaign that Audi had going back around 2005.
The site section AudiUSA.com/A3 is featured in red in the top right corner of the page (we’ll see that style again later) but it’s also in this supposedly stamped addendum on the right:
Of course, this made-up story about a missing A3 was all part of a marketing campaign to get people excited about the A3. It appears they even had a website called StolenA3.com, which, not surprisingly, is dead now.
Anyway, let’s talk about AudiUSA.com/A3 as that’s what we’re here for today. As Audi still makes the A3, it’s not surprising that this is what the section looked like when I took all of my initial screengrabs in June 2020:
The keen observers out there will notice that the URL in the screengrab is actually AudiUSA.com/models/audi-a3-sedan.html, which means someone smartly set up a redirect to that new URL from the simpler AudiUSA.com/A3. That’s great!
C’mon guys! You had this working so well a few months ago? Why’d you let it slip?
We’ll move things up a notch and check out this ad for the A4:
This is part of the same “greater than”/”less than” campaign we saw just a moment ago, but for the slightly larger A4. And while this ad doesn’t have a corny fake rubber stamp warning, it does have the same design for the URL at the top of the page:
And like the example of above, the URL is nice and tidy at simply AudiUSA.com/A4. Also like the example above, the A4 is still a current model, so it’s nice to see that AudiUSA.com/A4 redirects to this live page:
Once again, the clean and simple AudiUSA.com/A4 redirects to a longer URL, but that’s fine. It shows that someone on the web team there is paying attention.
And, unlike the A3 example above, AudiUSA.com/A4 still goes to an A4-specific page, not just the generic homepage.
I won’t leave you in too much suspense for these final two examples because they behave much like the A4 example above. First, we have this ad for the A6 from February 2005:
Same “greater than”/”less than” campaign. Same red font for the URL (though this time it’s in the lower right):
And, as the A6 is also still a current car, it’s not surprising to see the decent web management we’ve seen before continues here with the new version of AudiUSA.com/A6:
Yup. Looks good.
You know how this story ends already. Here’s our final ad from a February 2007 magazine for the Q7 SUV:
This is one of those half-page ads that spread across the bottom of the two-page spread. And this one, being about two years newer than the others, doesn’t have a greater-than or less-than symbol.
But that’s okay because it still has a URL in red font:
I’m not sure why they went with /AudiQ7 for the site section here while the previous URLs were the simpler /A3, /A4 and /A6 (without Audi).
So, overall, we have a pretty good example of proper web management from the team at Audi as they navigate their soup of letters and numbers.