Audi Launches New Car With Holographic Duet From M.I.A. and Janelle Monaé

To introduce its new A3 sedan, the German automotive brand hosted simultaneous events in New York and Los Angeles that combined live performances with holograms.

By Anna Sekula April 17, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT

In New York, rapper M.I.A. (pictured, far left) was joined on stage by a holographic Janelle Monaé. A portal-like backdrop illuminated by animated graphics added a depth-of-field to the visuals.

Photo: Courtesy of MKG

The New York International Auto Show opens this Friday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and carmakers are already in town courting press with events and public stunts. Audi got a jump-start on its competitors by hosting a launch on April 3 in New York and Los Angeles that put technology squarely in the spotlight. The centerpiece of the program? A holographic duet between rapper M.I.A. and R&B singer Janelle Monaé.

Produced by MKG, the simultaneous events were intended to build buzz with the target audience—young, first-time luxury buyers who are design conscious—and highlight the technologically advanced features of the new Audi A3 sedan. With M.I.A. performing live at New York's S.I.R. Stage37 and Monaé on stage in Quixote Studios in Los Angeles, the German automotive brand and the experiential agency united the two separate affairs through holograms. After M.I.A. finished her set on the East Coast, she was joined on stage by Monaé's hologram for a rendition of “Bad Girls.” Similarly, Monaé's finale was a duet with a holographic M.I.A. for the song “Q.U.E.E.N.”

“The new A3 is really a game changer for Audi and for the industry, and we wanted to launch the car in a way that told that story about innovation, design, and performance,” said Lauren Austin, MKG's creative director. “It was incredibly exciting and fun to collaborate with Audi on this project because they were constantly pushing us to be as creative and innovative as possible.”

Adding to the stage visuals was a 3-D backdrop, a portal-like concept designed by Vita Motus Design Studio with Obscura Digital's 3-D projections mapped to its surface. The animation on the structure played up the depth of field and amplified the visual illusion.

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