The “50 Shades of Grey” book series has become a big thing lately, and a few products mentioned in the tawdry tomes have been treated to a “50 Shades of Grey” sales boost. One such company is Audi, the preferred car brand of the book’s protagonist.
Audi naughtily enjoying “50 Shades of Grey” sales boost
Audi has been a very naughty car brand and must be punished. They will learn the meaning of the word “respect.” They are also learning the meaning of “ka-ching!”
Audi, according to AutoGuide, is reporting a slight sales boost which the brand believes is at least partially tied to the protagonist of the “50 Shades of Grey” book series, the trilogy of light erotic/romance novels by E.L. James, that has become wildly popular in recent months. Getting a “50 Shades of Grey” sales boost wasn’t intentional, but rather a happy accident if it is indeed the case.
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The books are light fare compared to, say, “Myra Breckinridge” by Gore Vidal or basically anything by the Marquis de Sade, but it’s been selling like hotcakes and the main character, Christian Grey, happens to drive an Audi. The book mentions models such as the A3 subcompact and Audi’s supercar, the R8.
Not deliberate but likely appreciated
A “50 Shades of Grey” sales boost is not the sole cause of increased Audi sales, but more that it is a possible factor.
There are also some hotel packages, theme weekends and so forth, catering to fans of the novel, according to Fox News, at least one, from the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle, Wash., includes taking an Audi for a spin from University Audi, according to the hotel’s website, which is located in the heart of Seattle’s U District, far from the more typical car shopping spots like the swath of Bellevue car dealers.
Audi didn’t actually pay for a product placement in the books, according to AutoGuide. The author seemed to think a bondage enthusiast would drive an Audi. Reportedly, she drives a Mini, which is by BMW, one of Audi’s main rivals. Granted, the autoloans for getting a Mini are much less than for getting an Audi.
Other sales bumps
Besides the rumored “50 Shades of Grey” sales boost for Audi, other cars have been made popular thanks to movies, books and other media. Audi has done it – Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t drive an R8 in “Iron Man” just because he liked it.
That said, if a car is seen in a movie, it’s usually product placement. The studio was paid to put the car in, which, according to CNBC, works pretty well. For instance, when “The Italian Job” remake featured the new Mini, just like the original, sales shot up and Mini sold 23 percent more cars that year. BMW, in the mid-1990s, paid United Artists to put BMW cars in James Bond films, which paid off. The company received 9,000 advance orders for the Z3 roadster within a month of the film’s release, and the car wasn’t available yet.
Ford, according to Drive.com.au, then owner of Aston Martin, reportedly paid the studio $100 million to get Bond back in an Aston after BMW’s three-picture deal ran out. The “Transformers” films, according to CNBC, have also done wonders to sell the Chevrolet Camaro.
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