Audi to Retain WPP's AKQA for Digital, Conducts Separate Social Search

Digital Review Started About Six Months Ago

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Audi A3 vehicles await final inspection at a plant in Germany.
Audi A3 vehicles await final inspection at a plant in Germany. Credit: Guenter Shiffmann/Bloomberg

WPP's AKQA is set to retain its Audi digital business after a lengthy agency review, according to people familiar with the matter. This means the shop will continue as lead digital agency for the automotive brand, which is part of Volkswagen.

Meanwhile, Audi is in the midst of a separate agency search focused on social media.

AKQA's scope of work for Audi has spanned digital marketing and web development. The shop was responsible for the introduction of, which went live last June, and has since worked on a number of mobile and app development initiatives.

The company named AKQA its digital agency of record in early 2011, shifting its business to the large, then-independent shop from smaller Denver-based independent Factory Design Labs.

The new pitch for that account pitted agencies like Interpublic Group's Huge, Hearst's iCrossing and AKQA against each other. It was part of a routine process that the automaker initiates every few years, industry executives said at the beginning of the review process.

An Audi spokesman declined to comment. Agencies mentioned either declined to comment or didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separately, the automaker is conducting a review of social media duties on its account such as community management and social content. The automaker tapped Huge in May 2013 to handle that business, and it often uses additional agency partners for digital and social content efforts, such as WPP media agency MediaCom and Interpublic PR shop PMK/BNC.

Huge declined to comment. It's not immediately clear whether the shop is participating in the review.

Audi spent $97 million on domestic measured media in 2013, while parent Volkswagen, which owns the namesake Volkswagen brand as well as Porsche, spent $526 million on total measured media, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. Volkswagen assumed the bulk of the measured media dollars. The parent company spent $810 million on total U.S. advertising and promotion costs.

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