SAN FRANCISCO Independent Venables, Bell & Partners has withdrawn from the review for creative chores on the $25 million Mini Cooper USA account following a weekend immersion briefing, agency founder Paul Venables said today.
The San Francisco shop's decision has left independents Mother and StrawberryFrog, both in New York, and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners of Sausalito, Calif., still in the running, according to sources.
Hasan Ramusevic of Hasan + Co., the consultant handling the review, confirmed that VB&P had withdrawn.
"We give a lot of credit to Hasan," Venables, co-creative director of VB&P, said. "His unorthodox pitch process included a weekend immersion, which was long enough for us to realize there just wasn't a spark between the teams."
"This is a relationship business, one that thrives on interpersonal energy and excitement, and if it's not there, you can't fake it," Venables said. "Going through with the pitch at this point wouldn't be fair to the people involved on both sides. I know our people would end up killing themselves for six weeks on something that perhaps just wasn't meant to be."
Final presentations are slated for the first week of December, sources have said [Adweek Online, Oct. 7].
The winner will succeed MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, which resigned the Mini business last month in order to take on Volkswagen's $400 million North American account.