Screencap from the 'Tony Stark Innovation Challenge' briefEnlarge Photo
Audi R8 in Iron ManEnlarge Photo
If you keep up with the auto world, you already know that Audi's #1 project at the moment is promoting its tie-in with Iron Man 2. Last week, the German marque rolled out an ad for the film's costar, the Audi R8 Spyder, in which the R8 was more-or-less upstaged by all the glittery, CGI-fueled footage from the movie. This week, Audi is taking a different, social media-fueled tack with the Tony Stark Innovation Challenge.
The Challenge is, as you might imagine, a contest -- a contest about innovation. In a nutshell, contestants are asked to submit videos of up to two minutes explaining their innovative ideas. Each person can submit up to three clips, which will then be rated by visitors to the contest website. Here are the "official" winning criteria, taken from a PDF detailing the rules of the competition:
Your video should:
1. Make the world a better place by solving a problem or improving an existing solution (20%)
2. Articulate and demonstrate expertise of the “better living through technology” philosophy (20%)
3. Have the scalability and adoptability to potentially change the way we live (20%)
4. Showcase innovation, adventure, and intelligence worthy of Audi and Tony Stark (20%)
5. Entice the social network; viewer ratings will help determine top entries (20%)
We say "official" criteria because we have a sneaking suspicion that item #5 may actually count for more than 20%. In fact, we would be more than mildly surprised if the contest winner weren't also the one with the highest viewer ratings. That's fine and all -- hell, we lived through HotOrNot and RateMy-fill-in-the-blank, so we know how shady that stuff can be -- but a little honesty would be nice. Bottom line: entering the contest without 1,000 or so Facebook friends and/or Twitter followers and/or YouTube subscribers
may will probably put you at a disadvantage.
One more quibble: Audi has reserved full domain for this promotion, but rather than building a simple, elegant microsite, TonyStarkInnovationChallenge.com lazily forwards to Audi's sad, unappealing, Flash-based website. We have nothing against Flash, but it can get a bit unwieldy -- especially for those of us who normally have it turned off with Flash-blocking extensions. Furthermore, we refuse to understand why every automaker on Planet Earth has built its site in Flash instead of lovely, functional, cross-platform-friendly CSS. Ugh: boys and their toys. We're not Apple fanboys, but maybe Jobs was right.
But back to the contest proper, which offers some very sweet prizes to the winner. Again, from the PDF:
- $15k to develop your idea
- Four-day trip for two to California
- A day at the Audi Sports Car Experience driving an Audi R8
- A VIP day with the ICON Aircraft team, joining them in flight and water testing of the innovative ICON A5 aircraft (one of Tony Stark’s toys)
- Helicopter tour of L.A.
- Transportation in the latest innovation from Audi, the 2011 A8
- Luxury hotel accommodations and dinners at L.A.’s top restaurants
- Spa treatments, tailored cocktail attire, and grooming to perfect his/her Stark style
- Tour of Audi Design Center in Santa Monica Airport
- Experience documented and featured on AudiUSA.com
Entries are being accepted from now through June 9. Technically, videos are supposed to be submitted via TonyStarkInnovationChallenge, but we don't see anyplace to do that just yet. A crack in the wall of German efficiency? Perhaps.
Oh, btw, there's a video touting the contest, if you're interested. No additional info, but, you know, eye candy: