Audi made a very smart decision when they chose to place their products in some of Marvel’s most popular films. Product placement has always been present in Hollywood blockbusters, but Audi and Marvel took this to a whole new level with their decade long collaboration which started with the first film in the Iron Man series and culminated in Avengers: Endgame.
In all Marvel films in which Audi provided their state-of-the-art Audi R8, Audi R8 Spyder, Audi R8 e-tron, Audi A8L and Audi S7 vehicles there was a realistic need for the type of supercars that the German manufacturer makes. That’s why it was only natural that Marvel and Audi joined forces to benefit their own individual agendas – Audi dramatically increased their marketing reach and directly increased sales while Marvel got a big investment to fund their $200 million blockbusters and some amazing cars to boot.
Iron Man Series
In each of Tony Stark’s Iron Man movies there was a different Audi model. In the first film of the Iron Man franchise Stark was driving around in the Audi R8 Model from 2008. This is one of Audi’s most famous cars in the past decade and as such it served as Iron Man’s main car throughout the film.
This was a car which was almost tailor made for Tony Stark as it shared the same characteristics that made Tony Stark such an incredible individual. It was as if it was really made to perfectly fit a billionaire tech genius who would almost certainly drive a sleek and sporty car which is both fast and full of innovative technologies. So instead of going for a car that is made specifically for the needs of the film, Marvel opted to go with Audi’s R8 as it was everything that they were looking for and then some.
The R8 was to Tony Stark what the Aston Martin was to James Bond. It embodied everything that the character was about and it made telling the story of the billionaire inventor so much easier for Marvel writers. This was much more than just product placement, the R8 in the first Iron Man film was a narrative device which moved the action forward both metaphorically and literally.
In the second film of the franchise, the Audi R8 was replaced by Audi R8 Spyder. The car which is an even faster version of the R8 is powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine and is rated at amazing 525 HP. Stark used the car to drive with the top open down the Pacific Coast Highway. Once again the car played a part in the story as it had a huge life saving device which was sticking up from the passenger seat which had its use in the film.
In the third rendition of Iron Man, Marvel and Audi went with a bolder choice and in 2013 they introduced the Audi R8 e-tron. The 380 HP output that the electric car produces made the car a firm favourite with fans. Even the staunchest of diesel heads fell in love with the electric car which could launch Tony Stark from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, while the top speed of the car when ungoverned could go as high as 250 km/h.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Audi R8 also made an appearance in Marvel’s 2015 blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron. As with other Marvel films which feature an Audi car, in Age of Ultron Audi got the exclusive auto-brand promotion agreement. This meant that while other cars, trucks and motorcycles are visible in many scenes it is only Audi’s vehicles which are highlighted and whose distinctive brand features are shown and intentionally pronounced.
It was Tony Stark once again who was behind the wheel of the Audi R8, but this time he had to do much less driving. This was because in this film the self-driving feature of the car was stressed, especially as it drove through the Avengers main headquarters. Needless to say this was a very nice promotional stunt as it made the self-driving capability much cooler than any advertisement could have done. The film also featured two other Audi products – the A3 Cabriolet and the TTS.
Captain America: Civil War
In this Marvel high earner, Robert Downey Jr. once again drives his beloved Audi R8. The V10 plus Coupé is his preferred transportation method in this one. However, it is the main character of the movie, Captain America, who steals the show.
This is because Chris Evans a.k.a. Captain America catches a ride in the new Audi SQ7 in one of the most intense scenes in the film. The sporty-looking SUV adds additional firepower to an already arsenal-studded character.
As with the other films, other Audi products such as the Audi A4 Sedan and the Audi A7 Sportback also make an appearance in the film.
The Audi A8, the Audi TTS Roadster, and the Audi e-tron GT all make an appearance in the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. In addition to their appearance in the film, such as when Happy Hogan drives around Peter Parker with no hands on the steering wheel, the Spider-Man: Homecoming film is also used as basis to make several very funny commercials. These involve Peter Parker and a test drive instructor and Peter Parker and his friend at a science fair school project in which they present their ‘very own’ Audi e-tron GT invention.
Robert Downey Jr. arrived at the world premiere of Avengers: Endgame in the Audi e-tron GT concept car. The e-tron GT was one of two concept cars introduced in that film with the other one being the all-electric Audi e-tron Sportback.
Avengers: Endgame is a good example of just why Audi chose Marvel as its perfect partner. Endgame was and still is one of the most profitable films to have ever hit cinemas and it has made close to $3 billion since its theatrical release. When you factor in that this is not where the film distribution ends and that it will also arrive in home entertainment systems and will achieve lots of re-runs on TV, you realize the type of masterstroke Audi achieved by placing their products in the Marvel universe. There is absolutely no chance that their products could reach such big audiences if they simply went for a normal advertisement.