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Truth in 24 is amazing - but what a shame

Written by on April 19, 2009

Audi has created a movie about the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans, from Audi's perspective. It is a thrilling story, about what it takes to be a part of this amazing event. Definitely worth a look, if you are into this sort of thing.

And I am into this. I have been covering the 24 hours of Le Mans for the last 9 years - both with articles, commentaries, and most importantly, the unofficial Le Mans tracking application. Last year 32.000 absolute unique readers visited my Le Mans site during the race.

See: Baekdal.com - Le Mans 2009 special coverage

So when I heard about this (a little late I admit), I immediately wanted to see it. And, I was very excited to learn, that not only had they made a full-length documentary, but it would also be completely free to download via iTunes.

What a waste...

Start rant

This was, however, when the fun stopped. Because Audi have made such an appalling cock up, that whoever was in charge of the distribution and marketing of this movie should be fired on the spot.

The most important thing you must do, when you want to publish or promote a product, is to get it out to your fans. That is far more important than anything else. Your fans are the ones who will actively spread the word. They are the ones who get other people to see it, and they are the ones who will post it to their social network profiles.

It is the single most effective way to communicate. No million-dollar marketing campaign can ever match the power of your fans. Having a professionally made movie, fully featured, and available for free is a sure recipe for a gigantic success when you combine this with the power of your fans.

But Audi Motorsport completely missed this opportunity, because they decided to release it exclusively on iTunes.

While I love iTunes, and use it everyday, not everyone feel this way. And limiting how people can see this movie simply doesn't make any sense. Who decided that it would be a good idea to limit distribution to a specific platform? Why not distribute it in as many ways, on as many channels as possible. Put it on iTunes and everywhere else at the same time.

Surely the whole point of making this movie is to get people to see it. Limiting yourself to only one channel works contradictory to your goals.

But that is not the worst part. The worst part is that only people in the US can download the movie in iTunes. Most international iTunes stores don't support movies, and even those that do, don't include the film.

Why would you do this? Why would you limit your audience to only US-based fans?

I know that Audi Motorsport is a US based company, but that doesn't mean that all your fans will be so too.

Audi itself is a German company, but no Germans can download the movie. Tom Christensen is Danish, but no Danes can download the movie. Emanuelle Pirro and Rinaldo Capello is from Italy, but no Italian can see the movie, Marco Werner and Mike Rockenfeller is also from Germany, and Allan McNish is from England, but no British people can see it either.

And the race itself - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - is held in France, but none from France can see it either.

The really worrying bit about this is that they probably think they did a pretty good job. The number of downloaded videos on iTunes-US is probably quite high. But it could have been several times higher. And, they would not get so much bad press from disgruntled fans, in blog post, on Twitter and in the comments of every single racing blog that has mentioned this movie.

It is a real shame. The movie is brilliant, the people in it are amazing, the car is staggering, the idea to make it was exceptional, and the timing was perfect.

To bad their marketing department didn't understood what it was all about... They didn't get it.

End rant

Now go see the movie (if you can).

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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