In the summer of 2013, Tony Stark was back on the big screen in his Audi R8 for the third and final installment of the Iron Man trilogy. Like Batman and his Batmobile, Iron Man’s car is practically his sidekick. To raise awareness of the superhero’s iconic vehicle, Audi of America, Huge and Marvel teamed up for an innovative campaign contest called “Steer the Story.” The experience put Iron Man and comic fans in the director’s chair, providing them with the chance to collaborate with Marvel artists, and each other, to create their own comic book using a flexible storyline, dialogue and illustrations. Every few days, fans decided Tony Stark’s next move by sharing their choice on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, which then unlocked the next chapter. As the fans’ story reached its climactic conclusion, the Marvel artists handed over their pens to the community and asked them to draw, photograph, or create the final scene themselves.
Audi and Huge produced a parallax website that gave the comic a three-dimensional appearance and allowed participants to view, vote, and share from any device. In addition, Audi and Huge also produced four videos: “Steer the Story,” which served as a trailer for the contest; “Explore the Audi and Iron Man Experience,” where the Marvel judges provided fans with an overview of the contest; plus “How to Draw the Audi R8,” and “How to Draw Iron Man’s Helmet,” in which Marvel artists provided step-by-step instructions to jumpstart participation.
Contestants uploaded their comic panels for a chance to have their ending selected as the final scene in the Marvel comic book. The winner received a signed poster, a signed Marvel comic book art board, and a trip to Comic Con 2013 in San Diego. All participants who submitted a comic panel were acknowledged as contributors on the final page of the Audi and Iron Man comic book and consumers could download the first, collaboratively-created Audi and Iron Man comic book from Marvel’s website.
For the first time ever, Iron Man fans were given the ability to create—via social media—a comic book of their own with Marvel artists using a malleable storyline, dialogue and illustrations. All of the artwork that Marvel created for this experience was unique and based on decisions made by the community. In addition to creating this innovative, engaging contest, Huge leveraged key influencers to spread the word and increase participation in the competition. The month-long campaign generated 28 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter and more than 4,500 organic conversations. Shortly after, Luxury Daily named it one of the top digital brand campaigns of 2013. This type of “social comic” experience had never been done before and it allowed consumers to engage with the Audi brand in a creative and completely revolutionary way.
<a href="http://www.steerthestory.com" target="_blank">Link to the microsite (no longer current)</a> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EgfS13Tl3Ko" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <a href="http://downloads.hugeinc.com/share.php?q=cb7798496cc463af6b7c092fa5f04787" target="_blank">Video (How to draw 2014 Audi R8 Spyder)</a> <a href="http://downloads.hugeinc.com/share.php?q=5c3b97e51a27a8080b1dd9cba1d4cb23" target="_blank">Video (How to draw Iron Man's helmet)</a>
Casey Sheehan, Creative Director, Huge
Derek Fridman, Creative Director, Huge
MA Moutoussis, Engagement Manager, Huge
Zev Kanter, Community Director, Huge
Greg Wilson, Community Manager/Copywriter, Huge
Erica Schlaikjer, Community Manager/Copywriter, Huge
Roti Aganga-Williams, Web Developer, Huge
Megan Malli , Engagement Director, Huge
Drew Elliott, Audi Social Media Specialist
Jessica Thor, Audi Retail Specialist
Loren Angelo, Audi Director of Marketing
Joe Jacuzzi, Audi Chief Communications Officer