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The ad world is still figuring out exactly what to do with the iPhone, but an early test case was unveiled last night. Instead of a print campaign or a TV spot, the campaign for the new Volkswagen GTI is leading off with an iPhone game.

Real Racing GTI is a standard 3D racer—remarkably similar to the unbranded Real Racing, except that winning enters you into a weekly sweepstakes and every car in the game is Volkswagen’s new 2010 GTI. That means you’ll get a firsthand, mobile look at the dashboard, and no matter how you drive, a VW always wins.

As a game, it’s not much to write home about; but as marketing, it’s one of the bolder moves we’ve seen this year. VW drivers are a pretty tech-y bunch to begin with, giving away a car a week will draw a fair number of them to the app, and in the process both the GTI and the iPhone will get a whole lot of converts. Maybe the Android folks should give Vespa a call.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom