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72&Sunny will ‘redefine’ Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik slogan made famous by BBH


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

November 5, 2019 | 4 min read

Audi is planning a brand refresh for 2020 which it says will “recharge” the company.



As part of the plans it wants to “redefine” the meaning of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, a slogan it’s used for over 30 years after first being created by BBH founder Sir John Hegarty.

However, BBH – which is currently involved in a much-debated pitch-process to retain the brand’s UK advertising account – will not be responsible for managing the refresh.

A brief history of 'Vorsprung durch Technik’

BBH founder Sir John Hegarty is reported to have come up with the famous tagline after a visit to a German Audi factory in 1982.

It roughly translates to "progress through technology" and has become one of the most famous advertising slogans during its 30+ year run.

"I had no idea that it would become that popular. It says everything and says nothing. That's often the brilliance of a thought, that people put their own meaning in to it," Hegarty told The Guardian in a 2012 interview. "It just captured people's imagination."

In 2010, Audi won a seven-year long legal battle to take full control of it as a trademark.

Instead, Audi has hired Amsterdam-based ad agency 72andSunny to oversee the global campaign which will reveal how the slogan has been “infused with new life,” it said.

“Vorsprung is globally becoming more and more a question of perspective, of an inner attitude,” said Sven Schuwirth, head of brand Audi, digital business and customer experience.

“That’s why we’re breaking new ground also in marketing, to recharge the Audi brand emotionally. Since its inception, we have been driving this project forward in an agile network with colleagues from all over the world. 72andSunny is the ideal agency for us to make these goals tangible in a major brand campaign.”

The Audi campaign will be led by 72andSunny’s Amsterdam HQ with support from its hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Singapore.

It will be revealed in the first quarter of 2020.

BBH remains in limbo

BBH is currently fighting it out in the final stages of a pitch against ad network Engine to retain Audi’s creative business in the UK.

Audi's decision to put the account up for review in April came as a surprise to many in the industry, not least because the four-decades long partnership had resulted in a catalogue of IPA award-winning work.

But the procurement-initiated review hinted at Audi hunting efficiencies from its ad spend. The division had been under scrutiny from parent company Volkswagen's bosses, with chief executive Bram Schot previously declaring his intention to overhaul the Audi brand as part of a wider efficiency drive in the group shortly before it commenced.

It ultimately led to a handful of agencies publicly declaring that they would decline to pitch if approached, including Leo Burnett, Lucky Generals and Ogilvy.


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