DDB gets swiftly back in the automotive saddle with BMW win

It hasn’t been the best of years for DDB. But after parting company with longtime client VW recently, it didn’t have to wait long to find a replacement and it will be starting next year on a good note with a different German car-maker—BMW—on its roster. 

“We received three strong pitches from agencies including incumbent DraftFCB, as well as Special and DDB,” says managing director Nina Englert in a statement. “After an extensive review and consultation period, we have decided to award the role of strategic creative partner to DDBWe’re looking forward to working with them and embarking on an exciting new journey to complement what will be an equally exciting period for BMW and Mini in New Zealand full of new model launch activity and engaging new initiatives. I wish to thank Special for the participation in the pitch process, but especially would like to acknowledge DraftFCBThey have been an innovative and dedicated partner with BMW and we have shared many successes together.”

It’s been a while between wins for DDB, and chief executive Justin Mowday was obviously happy to be giving a victory speech for a change. 

“I think the combination of one of the world’s leading premium brands with one of the world’s most creative brands is pretty awesome,” he says. “… It was a very fair pitch process run by a very professional team. We’ve been really impressed by them and we’re looking forward to working with them.”

This was a pretty important pitch for DDB and it invested heavily in winning it, with Mowday praising the leads Ollie Lynch, Shane Bradnick and Lucinda Sherborne, as well as the “the tens and twenties behind them”.

“We’ve had some ups and downs this year. Still more ups than downs. But this is a testament to the talent.”  

He wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the account, but it is thought to be around the same size as VW. 

While DDB had to say farewell to a few staff a few weeks back after the loss of George Weston Foods and VW, he says it’s unlikely it will require any new staff to service the account. 

When asked if that’s a bad look after it was able to find a replacement for VW so quickly, he says, “VW was just one of the factors that we looked at. We took a broad view to assess the business from a financial point of view. And winning one account doesn’t resolve that entirely.” 

In a statement, DraftFCB’s chief executive and chairman Bryan Crawford said: “We’re very proud of the considerable business success we have delivered to BMW/MINI over our seven year partnership. We have taken the brand to number one in the premium automotive category, won numerous awards across all integrated areas of the business and created local campaigns that have been recognised globally.” 

As part of the two stage review, BMW Group is scheduled to commence a media partner review in December and an announcement will be made in due course. That is currently held by DraftFCB Media. 

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