M&C Saatchi has become the latest agency to pull out of Audi’s advertising review.
It is understood that the decision follows discussions this week and was not prompted by the Volkswagen-owned car marque’s approach to the procurement-led review. Audi is believed to have recently held tissue meetings with the agencies in contention.
M&C Saatchi’s departure leaves Engine to battle it out against the incumbent, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. VCCP chose to exit the process last week after an all-agency briefing at the start of this month.
Giles Hedger, chief executive of M&C Saatchi, said: "We wish Audi well in their search for an agency partner, but the process has revealed some irreconcilable strategic differences and the right thing to do now is withdraw."
MullenLowe London and Mother were both invited to pitch for the account after successful chemistry meetings but declined. Brothers and Sisters took part in a chemistry meeting but was not selected for the pitch.
Audi also approached Leo Burnett London, Lucky Generals, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi London and VMLY&R, but they chose not to take part.
BBH has worked with Audi for 37 years and last year won the Grand Prix at the IPA Effectiveness Awards for delivering the brand’s highest-ever return on marketing investment.
The brand called the review in April. It will make a decision on the winner over the summer, with the new contract due to start in early 2020.