'Truth in Motion' set for NBC ahead of Olympics

Audi of America is taking its latest documentary on the road to NBC.Truth in Motion,” which follows the U.S. ski team as it readies for next month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, will air on the Peacock during primetime on Jan. 30 and receive an encore airing on USA Network on Feb. 6.

It will also screen on Universal Sports Network Jan. 31, Feb. 8 and 11, while an extended version will be available to download on Apple’s iTunes store for free.

The film, helmed by Brett Morgen (“The Kid Stays in the Picture”), seeks to put a face on the American athletes who will compete in the upcoming Games, tracking their pre-season training in Portillo, Chile, and Saas-Fee, Switzerland, through to the final days leading up the start of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup competition in Solden, Austria.

The film is the latest example of how brands are increasingly turning to entertainment as a way to connect with consumers.

Given its 25-year heritage of sponsoring professional skiers, Audi considered the upcoming Winter Olympics a prime opportunity to promote its brand and lineup of Quattro-powered (i.e., four-wheel drive) vehicles, long a favorite of skiers and snowboarders. The company found 35% of people who purchase Audis are avid skiers, said Scott Keogh, Audi of America’s chief marketing officer.

We could have come up with an ad, but we felt we’ve been so involved with this sport, we wanted America to see it in a more forward fashion,” Keogh told Daily Variety. “When you watch skiing, you see someone come down the hill wearing a helmet and goggles and just see their name and how they did. This (movie) really lets you see who they really are.”

Truth in Motion” is the second high-profile docu Audi has produced, following last year’s “Truth in 24,” which followed the Audi-sponsored team competing in Le Mans’ 24-hour race. That full-length feature bowed at the AFI Fest and later aired on ESPN, ESPN 2 and the Speed Channel. It was also downloaded 300,000 times on iTunes.

Truth in Motion” is a 45-minute piece that aims to promote Audi’s strong tie-in with competitive skiing over the years while showcasing its vehicles’ capabilities in the snow.

Audi is buying considerable ad time during the Winter Olympics, which begin Feb. 12. It’s also the title sponsor of the FIS World Cup.

While the automaker’s involvement won’t be subliminal its brand is in the title; its logo is on the U.S. ski team, which it sponsors; and athletes drive its vehicles “we had no desire to make an Audi informercial,” Keogh said. “We had a desire to make a great piece of entertainment.”

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