Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man

We know, we know: another piece on the Audi R8? Clearly, we are slaves to the Hollywood PR machine -- or in this case, the one rumbling out of Ingolstadt.

But whatever: at least this promotion is more interesting than the straight-up Iron Man 2 tie-in driving Audi's TV ads. This time around, Audi is tapping inventors, tinkerers, and their many, many online friends for something called the Tony Stark Innovation Challenge.

We won't go into detail about the contest, since we've done a thorough job of that on some of our sister sites. But one thing we would like to mention to Audi in passing -- just in case anyone from the home office is reading -- is that "Tony Stark" isn't real.

We're pretty sure Audi knows that. And we're pretty sure we've seen similar contests in conjunction with other movie releases. (Our favorite? The Darth Maul Bake-Off. That was real, right?) But the contest rules [PDF] explicitly state that contest submissions "should not contain Iron Man or Marvel Intellectual Property, any visible logos, drawings, cartoons, phrases, trademarks, or any third-party materials other than Audi". In light of all that, it seems a little weird that Audi would base an entire promotion around a presumably trademarked figure that contestants can't mention by name -- though in fairness to Audi, the "Robert Downey Jr. Innovation Challenge" does lack a certain je ne sais quoi.

Oh, just for fun, here's the contest promo video. It's Wednesday, so we're pretty sure you can use a break:

[TonyStarkInnovationChallenge via MotorAuthority]