Is Audi a four letter word?

Audi TT Munich Ingolstadt Germany

Is Audi a four letter word?

I don’t think so. VW have put the Audi account up for pitch after being with Bartle Bogle Hegarty since it was founded in 1982. The impact on the brand from the work coming out of BBH in that time is almost immeasurable although everyone is into measuring everything now, except me. If you’re a nerd unlike me you can go and find all the amazing stats on the results.
Much like BBH’s first ad for Levis the black sheep, I’ve always been left field of the main stream and still am, I say nothing lasts for ever. BBH made Audi, Audi made BBH, time to move on. With adland changing beyond all recognition it makes it even less surprising.
There’s a lot of angry people commenting on this news, I’m not one of them. Audi was the single most significant period in my very long career, and Audi filled almost a third of that. Here’s the full article in Campaign.
It was back in 1997 when I flew out to Munich to visit the Audi factory in Ingolstadt. My small team were lucky enough to be amongst the world’s first people to see the brand new super cool Audi TT. It came out at a time when there were precious few genuinely cool yet affordable quality sports cars. Now they’re everywhere, we’re spoilt.
I was given a TT for the afternoon with my account man and we put it though its paces on the country roads around Ingolstadt which was a lot of fun. My account guy managed to ding an alloy rim on the curb and asked me to keep quiet. I did, until now. And now he’s a well know CEO of a very large global network. We had other sojourns together, one where we stayed in a pink and green hotel in Southern Ireland for the launch of the Audi A3. But that’s another story. We shot this the countryside around Ingolstadt near the factory (which by the way was very impressive), obviously shot pre digital, wanted a Man Ray solarisation style this shot was for direct mail but I also used it for the range brochure shoot. This shot is a scan from the print that’s been in my loft ever since the TT was launched.

Audi TT Ingolstadt Germany

From 1995 to 1998 I was doing a lot of below the like work on Audi for BBH mostly direct mail and print design work, some radio and national press ads plus the odd 48 sheet billboard, I was picking up awards, it was lots of fun. It wasn’t until 1999 that I started making online, national and global TV work but that’s another future blogpost story. I left BBH after 11 years to work on many other car accounts such as Land Rover, Jaguar, Ford, Nissan, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. But I’m not a one trick pony I do do other work, so far I’ve worked on 70 global brands. More recently I’ve worked on two electric car briefs and of course this is where the TT’s future lies. I prefer a good old fashioned petrol engine though.

Audi TT

I find myself writing the last para in Starbucks and a blue TT rolls up, haha. Maybe I’ll eventually get myself one who knows. Just like cars, client accounts eventually move on. And I’m positive about it, it was such a pleasure making some of the most iconic work that made Audi so cool and famous, not to mention more successful as a brand.


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Here’s a line I wish I’d written. Well in fact it wasn’t just written by our friends over at W+K. Like some other great lines i.e. Vorsprung durch Technik it wasn’t born in an agency. However, and this is key, it took someone from a great agency and with great vision to see its power and then to sell it into a client who’s willing enough to take the good advice and go with it.

The next key step is how it’s played out and executed, the tone of voice and attitude is ultimately what gives it stand out and stops it just being a corporate mantra. And there’s too many of those out there for sure.