BBH to develop new branded TV channel for Audi UK

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LONDON - Bartle Bogle Hegarty is drawing up plans to develop a branded television channel for its flagship car client Audi UK.

The TV channel is likely to serve as a showcase of motoring programmes for the marque's range of models, although plans are at a very early stage.

Charlie Rudd, the deputy managing director of BBH, said: "Audi UK is committed to innovative ways of engaging with its audience and this is one example of how BBH is responding to this with solutions beyond traditional advertising."

The Audi channel will be developed by BBH's content arm, headed by Mark Boyd. On the Audi side, the initiative is being led by the head of marketing, Gary Savage.

Branded TV channels are becoming an increasingly popular way of communicating with consumers among car manufacturers. Campaign revealed earlier this month that BMW is investigating a similar initiative.

The regulation of TV advertising, by Ofcom, is much tighter than that imposed on a programme. References to speed and performance, for instance, are not banned when included in programme content.

The move by Audi follows Visit London's launch of a channel in March, called London TV. The free-to-air station is available on the Sky platform and features the capital's tourist attractions. The travel company Thomas Cook has also invested in a broadband, cable and satellite channel. The production side of both initiatives has been handled by Enteraction TV. The company's branded programming division is headed by Simon Wells, the former head of television at WCRS.

Audi was one of BBH's founding clients when it launched in 1982. Two years later, the agency introduced the famous "Vorsprung durch Technik" line -- an old company motto, which translates as "progress through technology".

Audi spends £16m above the line in the UK annually, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research.

The company is currently running a high-profile TV spot called "illusion".

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