Audi Picks Venables, Bell For $70MM Account; Internet Key
Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, initiated the review shortly after joining Audi from Mercedes in May. Announcing the results yesterday, he said Audi needed a new direction largely because it lacks the media dollars of competitive brands like BMW and Mercedes.
"We are dramatically overspent, sometimes five to one, in the U.S., and [Venables, Bell] presented a way for Audi to go to market in a way that's engaging, and will get Audi popularized," he said.
The Internet will play a prominent role in the new brand campaign, which will introduce a new tagline, Keogh said.
Keogh said Venables, Bell brought to the table a way of going to market with a perspective treating Audi more like a political cause than a mere product. "It's less reserved, less polite," he said of the creative, adding that much of the media will be focused on the Internet going forward because "88% of people who purchase Audi spend significantly more time online than with other media."
"If you're going up against someone with an 8-foot spear, a 4-foot spear won't do. You have to have something different," he said.
Keogh said the new theme will reflect the "I had no idea" response of people who get into an Audi for the first time, and as in a political message, will play up themes of trust and quality. Ads will also add a "wow" factor for the performance, look and feel of Audi vehicles, he said.
Other agencies vying for the business following a four-month review were Audi's former agency McKinney & Silver, Durham, N.C.; Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York; and Fallon, Minneapolis, which withdrew last month.
McKinney had held the account since 1993. Media duties remain with MediaCom.
Audi sold 9,209 vehicles in the U.S. last month, making it the best November in the company's history. For the calendar year to date, Audi sales total 78,219--up 5.4% over 2005. Audi is on pace to set a sales record this year.