The MCU Has Made Audi a Boatload of Money

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and subsequent movie franchises recognize the value of increased product placement of specific brands throughout their beloved storylines.

Enthusiasts are used to seeing various consumer-facing brands making cameo appearances on the big screen. One brand that appears in a variety of films, including Iron Man, The Avengers, and Captain America: Civil War, is Audi. Tony Stark is often behind the wheel of the latest, coolest, and concept Audi models. This precise product placement seems to be prominent, but is it working?

We took a closer look at the Audi and MCU partnership to see if Audi is making a boatload of money as a result.

Audi and Marvel: Partners since the beginning

Kevin Feige speaks onstage
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

The adventures of our favorite superheroes and action-packed Avengers tale began with Iron Man. Fans embraced Robert Downey Junior as the business-savvy, Tony Stark. Audi jumped on the partnership opportunity to attach its performance and luxury brand to the man who lived an upscale lifestyle and embodied the epitome of tech innovation.

That union of brand and character in 2008 has proven to be a game-changer for the Audi brand of vehicles.

The Audi message to moviegoers

Eleven minutes into the movie, Audi introduces its first, ‘everyday supercar’ to Iron Man moviegoers. The Audi R8 shows up again, cruising down a California highway with Tony Stark behind the wheel.

As Tony Stark rolls up to make an impression in his on-screen parties, Audi makes an impression on the car-buying public. Fast forward to 2010 and Iron Man 2, and fans watched Stark race down the Pacific Coast Highway in his Audi R8 Spyder. By the time 2013 came, and along with it, Iron Man 3, Audi’s strategic car placement, was in full force.

MCU fans caught their first glimpse of the Audi R8 e-Tron, and the extensive Audi presence in Stark’s collection of vehicles. With each vehicle appearance, Audi is reinforcing its brand as the preferred choice of product for a character who represents authority, innovation, tech, and elite lifestyles.

Is the alliance between Audi and Tony Stark working?

Kai Mensing, an executive for Audi’s Product Placement International division, says this partnership has been nothing short of a win-win situation. The movies allow Audi to perfectly present brand values that align well with the Tony Stark character and reach a global audience in doing so.

But is it working? David Branch, the general manager of Town Audi, told Automotive News it is working. In fact, car buyers were sharing their appreciation in being able to test-drive the cars their beloved Tony Stark had been driving. Audi using some of the movie footage embedded in advertising helps too.

Branch says he noticed an influx of showroom traffic within the few months that followed the MCU movie premieres.

Other Audi appearances you may have missed

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Audi may have launched with the Tony Stark and R8 relationship. But it’s continued throughout the movie franchise, and the iconic ringed badge has made plenty of other appearances.

The R8 Coupe and TTs demonstrated their futuristic and autonomous driving capabilities in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Audi A3 showed up in Antman in 2015, too. In Captain America: Civil War, you might even recall a freeway full of Audi models, including the A7 Sportback and A4, during the chase scene. Tony Stark was driving his 610-hp R8 V10 in this film.

Even Captain America gets some Audi drive time steering frantically behind the wheel of the Audi SQ7.

Audi’s relationship with the MCU and strategic brand alignment with the Tony Stark character has proven to be a lucrative move. Fans of the movie franchise are learning to not only love their favorite superheroes but also love seeing the latest and most innovative of cars, too.