Volkswagen and Colenso BBDO thought to have parted ways

StopPress understands the creative partnership between Volkswagen (VW) and Colenso BBDO has come to an end after less than two years. 

When asked about the validity of these claims, VW’s general manager Tom Ruddenklau was a firm ‘no comment’, saying only that he would be happy to meet up for a coffee at a later stage.

This news follows on what appeared to be a relatively successful creative partnership, with VW and Colenso launching a socially-led brand campaign called The People’s Film to celebrate 60 years in New Zealand and picking up two bronze and two silver gongs at Cannes this year for the ‘Reduce the speed dial’ campaign.


This campaign was however met with criticism from some in the industry because it was released right before the Cannes deadline and was only ever introduced in a limited number of cars. 

Colenso BBDO won the VW account in September 2013 after a tight creative pitch (which also included Assignment Group and DDB), thereby bringing an end to DDB’s 11-year partnership with the German automobile manufacturer (DDB did however win the BMW/Mini account shortly afterwards). 

At the time, Ruddenklau, who had been in the role for around 18 months, was at pains to point out that the decision wasn’t based on DDB’s performance but it was rather attributable to changes within VW. 

“We’re on a path to double the business and we’re assessing everything,” Ruddenklau said at the time. “The dealer network, head office and all our partners. So it’s not something that’s in isolation.” 

VW (and Audi) have been working with FCB on the media side, and StopPress understands this will remain unchanged.  

The availability of a major brand like VW will no doubt be appealing to many agencies, particularly the bigger players like FCB and Ogilvy & Mather, which currently don’t have car brands in their ledgers (FCB lost BMW/Mini to DDB and Ogilvy & Mather recently lost Holden to Special Group).    

Despite attempts to make contact with Jim Moser, Nick Garrett and Paul Gunn, no-one from Colenso BBDO has responded. 

UPDATE: Gunn got back to us and said he would send through a comment soon. Garrett has responded saying that he could not comment on the matter at this stage.  

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