Screencap from Audi A1 film series starring Justin TimberlakeEnlarge Photo
2011 Audi A1 and Justin Timberlake on LA photo shootEnlarge Photo
Last month, we told you that Audi had created a short action film with brand ambassador Justin Timberlake to help promote the company's new luxury compact, the A1. The first episode of that film launched yesterday, but if you live in North America, you should probably skip it.
The Next Big Thing is divided into six parts, with one new episode rolling out each Tuesday from now through June 8. Alongside JT, the film stars Dania Ramirez, her sky-high stilettos, and of course, a very bright, very red, impossible to miss, pristine Audi A1. Other co-stars include guns, voiceovers, and bad men wearing black.
Audi bills the film as a suspense drama that unfolds slowly and stealthily: "Who is this John Frank, played by Justin Timberlake? What has he been involved in? The first clues can be found in episode one..." But frankly, Audi, the only clue we're looking for is whether or not the A1 is going to be sold in America. WILL JT TELL US THAT?
Sadly, we think we found the answer to that question before JT even opened his mouth.
Our first clue is the A1 in the film, which sports European plates, unlike the vehicles with U.S. tags in the parking lot behind it. Audi's message? The A1 is not for you, Americans!
Our other clue? There's no way for us to watch the film on the Audi website (www.audi.com/a1), even though Audi keeps emailing us to say that's where the clips will be unveiled. Here's the problem: before entering the website proper, users are required to enter their location. We entered "North America" and poof, we were rerouted to the regular Audi website, which has no section for the A1. We wasted 15 minutes of our lives trying to work through this conundrum, to no avail. That's about the length of all six episodes jammed together, so we can probably just avoid the remaining five clips and call the whole thing a wash.
Only problem is, Audi keeps trying to lure us back in, claiming that The Next Big Thing is more than just a series of films: "interactive elements [in the clips] open up new possibilities"! Unfortunately, the only place to encounter those "new possibilities" is -- you guessed it -- on the America-hatin' A1 website. We take some comfort in the fact that when we visited the site a couple of weeks ago, before some Audi genius "fixed" it, it made our browser go all Lindsay Lohan/Halle Berry (translation: crazy/crashy). Interactivity be damned, we'll watch this stuff on on YouTube.
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More than just a film: interactive elements open up new possibilities
Each Tuesday from now until June 8 at www.audi.com/a1
Ingolstadt, GERMANY, May 4, 2010 - It's all about the A1, of course. And yet the new, compact Audi A1 stays in the background with elegant restraint. Little wonder, as Justin Timberlake and Dania Ramirez plunge into a suspenseful, mysterious story - through six episodes that can be viewed online. And on the Internet, the lines between reality and fiction are often blurred. Who is this John Frank, played by Justin Timberlake? What has he been involved in? The first clues can be found in episode one, starting today. The suspense rises each Tuesday with another episode, until June 8.
"The Next Big Thing": Justin Timberlake is John Frank, a straight-laced IT specialist. He meets the mysterious Toni, played by Dania Ramirez. John can save her life. More is revealed in steps - that's the idea. The tension builds until the finale - the final episode. There's never a dull moment between episodes on the Internet, either. Interactive elements provide secrets, details and background about each episode: users get to know the characters, see the film from unusual perspectives, and flashbacks fill in the plot.