The relationship between the Centrica-owned organisation and the incumbent, EHS Brann, has faltered recently. As a consequence, the AA has asked EHS to justify its position on the direct roster by presenting against a small selection of below-the-line agencies. The Haystack Group will handle the review.
The AA's head of PR, Becky Hadley, said: "We've always had a good relationship with EHS Brann, but there have been some local issues that have affected this. So we've asked the agency to take part in a competitive tender between now and the end of the year."
The AA splits its direct roster into two loosely defined categories - running a car and buying a car.
EHS handles the former category while Rapier takes care of the latter, producing the marketing for AA's insurance, loan and vehicle inspection services. Rapier is likely to take part in the pitch, although its own account is not affected. The review will also not affect M&C Saatchi, the lead agency on the AA roster.
EHS's latest acquisition campaign for the AA's Roadside Recovery service was led by a direct-response TV ad entitled "crammed". This followed up the long-running "jeans" commercial, in which a young man decides to buy a pair of jeans instead of joining the AA, but ends up regretting the decision when he has to fix his own engine.