The Globe live streams Audi’s opening act

The publisher's content studio tackles a live-streaming execution for the sleek car co at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto this week.

Not every car enthusiast – and we know they are not in short supply – will make it down for this year’s Canadian International Auto Show. The marquee event, which opens today, and runs through Feb 21 will see cars of every size, shape and cost on display at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Which is why Audi Canada is making an effort to reach those who decided against battling their way across the city’s frozen streets during the coldest period of the year to date. Thanks to a tie-up with the Globe Media Group, Audi fans (or just those in love with anything Jason Statham drives) across Canada and around the world will have caught some of the action live from the scene on their mobiles or desktops.

Using digital ad units for desktop and mobile, the Globe’s coverage includes two one-hour events filmed on the show floor and featuring TV journalist, Glen Baxter as host. Both one-hour long videos highlight tech advances the car company is showcasing and also include tours that take viewers into the interior of the Audi cars on display. The first video live streamed yesterday and the second one live streams today at 1 p.m. ET. Once both videos have been live streamed, the Globe’s team will  begin chopping them up into shorter, two-to-three minute segments.

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Overall, the execution includes custom content ad units featuring live stream videos, which will dominate available Globe Alliance inventory. The campaign is supported by online billboards (see, right), full screen iPad and iPhone ads within The Globe and Mail App, and Globe Canvas ad formats (fullscreen ads) on desktop and tablet browser.

MediaCom worked on media for the campaign.

The idea for the live stream execution, which is the first the Globe has carried out for sponsored content, was inspired by a similar execution for Jeep by the New York Times ahead of the North American International Auto Show, Sean Stanleigh, managing editor of the Globe Content Studio, tells MiC. The company’s only other experience with live streaming was the newspaper’s editorial coverage of the 2015 national elections.

Stanleigh says Audi Canada approached the Globe with the goal of expanding its reach beyond the show to Audi lovers, industry insiders and Audi employees worldwide.

Jodi Brown, head, MediaCom Beyond Advertising, says clients are interested in using live streaming especially if an event is newsworthy. As the original engineering manufacturer (OEM) chosen to open the show, she says, it made sense for Audi to build brand attention through a unique execution.

“Audi stands for “Vorsprung durch Technik,” which means advancement through technology,” explains Brown. “They challenge us to apply this thinking to media. What technology can we leverage with our media partners that hasn’t been done?”

Executing this type of work required scouring for talent outside the Globe Edge’s facilities to bring on a showrunner, a host, a producer and a prod co, Unikron. Having completed its inaugural campaign using live streaming, Stanleigh says he hopes to build up his team to execute more custom solutions for advertisers. The team is already working on building 360 and VR ad units for clients.

Promotions for the execution were primarily on social channels using the Globe and Audi’s twitter channels and also those of independent producers and hosts on it, including Stanleigh and Baxter. The Globe also has a frontpage banner ad on its site (see below) advertising the two videos.

Although he can’t reveal much more yet, Stanleigh says initial results from the first live video surpassed his expectations. In keeping with expectations that mobile would be the most-used platform, most views for the show were from users logging on using their mobiles.

“We’re always trying to build new ideas and new formats for clients and for custom-editorial projects,” says Stanleigh. “Now that we know we can do this, we can offer it to others.”