Audi: what happened? WPP’s Hamburg agency Thjnk launches global ‘Future is an attitude’ campaign

After a long tussle with Engine over the UK Audi account last year, BBH now seems to be ceding ground to German agency Thjnk, which is launching a new global brand strategy for the carmaker this weekend.

It will take more than one bad ad to erase BBH’s 28 years of building the Audi brand, but this is not a good sign. A UK TV ad is made up of some generic car shots, over which a voiceover makes statements like, “We all look at the world in a different way… Some see a factory. We see progress. Some see an electric car. We see a new era.”

“Vorsprung durch technik” will, we are told, “remain the brand claim,” but “Future is an attitude” will “unite worldwide marketing activities” from now on, implemented across all channels by Thjnk, which was bought by WPP in 2017.

Wenders says: “By refining our brand strategy, we give a contemporary definition to ‘Vorsprung’ and make ourselves fit for the future. The purpose is to improve people’s lives through technology and to make a contribution to society. The Audi ambition is to shape the future of premium mobility and to create exciting experiences.”

Henrik Wenders, senior vice president for the Audi brand, joined the company after three years at Chinese electric vehicle brand Byton, which was founded by former BMW and Nissan executives. Previously he worked at BMW for more than a decade.

Some see a brand building commercial. We see a dud.

MAA creative scale: 2

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

5 comments

  1. Avatar

    What a load of old bollocks. Why do they always show a young bird looking as if she is having an orgasm whilst looking at a bog standard car. No Mr. Wenders… You are not creating exciting experiences… Just the same old shit everyone in the car biz churns out.

  2. Avatar

    Oh dear, this is more than a dud, it is truly, pathetically bad. Where is anything uniquely Audi? Change the generic pictures and substitute any brand you like. This shouldn’t ever have made it as an internal staff video, much less a global brand campaign. It’s laughable. “Future is an attitude” is a line from a self-help book. Someone needs to Thjink again before they screw up everything Audi built over 25 years. Far from being forward- thinking, advertising like this is a giant step backwards. It is intellectually and creatively bankrupt and as such devalues one of the smartest and most creative brands in the eyes of leaders, influencers and of course customers . If the people behind the brand aren’t seen as smart, how can the brand be smart?
    Vorsprung Durch Technik is neither a slogan nor a tag line, it is already an attitude – it didn’t need a meaningless little motto to prop it up. Very sad to see that those now responsible have failed to grasp the very essence of the brand they represent.

  3. Avatar

    What made it worse is that it constantly flashes along the bottom ‘Car show not actually in production’. They may as well have flashed that ‘None of this is real’

  4. Avatar
    Suzanne Glenville

    What a stupid advert line. ‘The future is an attitude ‘.

    Is this Agency trying to be trendy and make people notice Audi?

    I have never heard such a stupid statement.

    The future happens, it is not an attitude.

    Whoever went along with this stupid statement?

    I wouldn’t buy an Audi because of this.

  5. Avatar

    The dawn of a new error! Yikes, what were they thinking? It’s as bad as Land Rover/Range Rover dropping ‘The Best 4X4 By Far’ and replacing it with ‘Above and Beyond’? I think they ought to spend more time down at the dealers.

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