Secret Weapon Pulls Out of BMW Creative Race

LOS ANGELES Secret Weapon Marketing has withdrawn from the review for the creative portion of BMW of North America’s $30 million Western U.S. regional account, the shop said today.

The independent agency in Santa Monica, Calif., had been one of five finalists for the business. The remaining contenders are: Grey Global Group’s Grey in Los Angeles; Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco; independent shop Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach, Calif.; and the incumbent, Mendelsohn|Zien Advertising in Los Angeles, which is party owned by Hakuhodo.

“We’ve decided to remove ourselves from consideration at this stage,” said Dick Sittig, founder and creative director of Secret Weapon, in a statement. “BMW is a fantastic brand and we wish them good luck, but the objectives for this regional assignment do not line up with the objectives we have for our third client.”

Secret Weapon has said it plans to limit its client list to no more than three companies at a time to guarantee accounts the attention of agency principals. The shop currently works with Jack-in-the-Box and Activision.

Select Resources International in West Hollywood, Calif., is leading the review.

The Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based client is expected to hear creative presentations from the finalists next week, with a decision shortly thereafter, sources said.