Africa Month Interview

#AfricaMonth: SA's changemakers drive Audi's 'Story of Progress' campaign

The Audi "Story of Progress" campaign is part of a global series of stories detailing personal manifestos of living progress, shared by international personalities like Janelle Monáe (singer and songwriter), Regé-Jean Page (actor), Stella McCartney (fashion designer) and Tom Hardy (actor).
L to R: South African changemakers Aisha Pandor, a digital entrepreneur; Donald Nxumalo, an interior designer; Hanlie Prinsloo, an ocean conservationist and Dion Chang, a trends analyst
L to R: South African changemakers Aisha Pandor, a digital entrepreneur; Donald Nxumalo, an interior designer; Hanlie Prinsloo, an ocean conservationist and Dion Chang, a trends analyst

Locally, South African changemakers including Aisha Pandor (digital entrepreneur), Dion Chang (trends analyst), Donald Nxumalo (interior designer) and Hanlie Prinsloo (ocean conservationist), who have been featured, are believed to be living out Audi’s brand characteristics of performance, digitalisation, sustainability and design in their own respective careers and fields.

"The goal of the campaign was to inspire South Africans by redefining their attitude towards the future. We can all work together to deliver a better tomorrow through the decisions we make today – because the future is an attitude," says Tarryn Knight, head of Marketing, Product and PR at Audi South Africa.

"Working with South African changemakers who shape their future through an optimistic and confident attitude gave the global work local relevance. It allowed us to showcase their efforts and success stories as part of a launch that aims to shape the future of mobility in South Africa: Audi’s launch of our all-electric e-tron range."

"Future is an attitude"

This campaign is framed by Audi’s “Future is an Attitude” communications approach which was revealed in 2020.

Says Knight, "This refinement of our brand strategy gave “Vorsprung” a contemporary definition, allowing us to align ourselves as a brand that is ready for the future - driving a new automotive era for our customers, which is electric mobility."

"'Future is an attitude' is our brand message for this campaign, with an emphasis on driving an optimistic attitude and mindset towards tomorrow. All the innovations, ideas and concepts of tomorrow can feel a lot more tangible if there is a positive belief in the possibilities that already exist today. It’s about being bold and taking that step."

By showcasing the stories of South Africans who are doing extraordinary work within their respective fields, Audi South Africa aims to inspire a renewed conviction of how impactful each of us can be, in our personal and professional lives, within this resourceful country.

"This campaign has been a great way to localise Audi’s global brand ethos of ‘progress’ and ‘future is an attitude’ in a way that is relatable and meaningful to our audience, particularly for a topic that has previously been seen as “far in the future” by South Africans. While electric mobility is certainly the future, the associated benefits of design, digitalisation, performance, and sustainability are great reasons to believe in it today too," adds Knight.

The holistic message of optimism toward an electric future is personified through each protagonist that Audi has partnered with.

Audi’s recent launch of the e-tron brand and range of fully electric vehicles is their first step into the future.

To reflect this, Audi selected a diverse group of individuals who would not only align to their brand pillars of performance, digitalisation, sustainability and design, but who have authentic relatable and real stories of innovation and progress to share.

Comments Knight on the selection process, "We chose four prominent South African changemakers and provided a platform for them to share their perspectives on progress and their personal visions for the future. Despite their different careers and passions, there was one thought that remained consistent – that progress made individually should be progress shared by all."

A positive outlook on the future

When asked about the creative process of the campaign, Knights says that the beautiful thing about creating these interview-style edits is that you could never presume to know what the protagonists were going to say or how they would choose to answer their questions.

"At the end of the shoot, we were left with a wealth of content that is unscripted and authentic."

"It just so happened that our protagonists all seemed to answer their set of questions in a similar way; with a positive outlook on the future of our planet and a sense of drive around what they can do, and what we all can do to ensure that this future is one we can be proud of."

"Seeing a group of four incredibly inspiring people, all in tune with one another is really a testament to the mind shift that is happening within us all. The world is ready for a better future, and we are willing to do what it takes to get there."

To create this work, Audi wanted to make sure that the storytellers and their stories were at the very centre of every decision made. "Our shoot was spearheaded by director Ian Schuter of Platypus Productions, with Scott Fowler as art director, Emma Wilson as copywriter, Merle Bennet as producer and Neil White as creative director from Audi South Africa’s creative agency partners, Ogilvy SA" adds Wright.

The “Stories of Progress” was run across a large variety of digital and social media platforms, with select screenings at a range of local e-tron launch events.

Wright notes on the roll-out of the campaign, "This campaign turned out better than we could have imagined. Our protagonists were incredibly inspiring and had a lot of wisdom to share, which created some really moving pieces.

If we could change anything, we would have liked the chance to include more South African stories of progress to profile. There are so many incredible South Africans working to spark progress and enact change and we would have loved to hear their stories too. Hopefully, we’ll get to at some stage. Until then, I hope that South Africans share their own optimistic views and actions as we all have a story of progress to share to positively shape the future in our part of the world."

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