Auto shows can be funny things. Of course everyone comes for the cars, but making a memorable experience beyond ogling a concept car or the new R8 or the like is the challenge for marketers. Enter the Audi Le Mans Experience at the Paris Motor Show. For the French event (perhaps fittingly), Audi put together a great digital takeaway that celebrated both its fans and its victory in Le Mans.

The process went something like this. At one side of the Audi stand and underneath the Le Mans winning R18 e-tron quattro were Audi staff equipped with iPads. Walk up and inquire, and the helpful Audi personnel will enter your name and information in an iPad app. Next, they take your photo with the iPad, and then you're sent off with an 'Audi Le Mans Experience' lanyard and information on where to find the fruits of your participation.

I took part while in Paris for press days and, not long after, received an email from Audi confirming a download. The link took me to YouTube where I caught this video short. It's a clever piece virtually putting me in the driver's seat of the #1 winning R18 e-tron quattro. Likely the only realistic thing about it is the dramatic scene where I stuff the car into the wall. No matter, this is virtual reality and I don't need to be a Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer or Benoit Treluyer in order to come back from eighth place and win the race.

To be honest, we've been surprised to see how well received this video was. It seemed like a cool gimmick at the show but the number of people who've dropped me an email to see how they might submit their photo and info, the enjoyment of my kids watching it at my desk and even pick up by the unofficial Audi Motorsport Blog has proven to me that it's much more of a gimmick. It's actually a really smart and engaging marketing move for both Audi and Le Mans. Hats off to the Audi marketing staff who came up with it.

Watch the video starring me below.

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