Volkswagen heads back to DDB’s garage, BMW and Mini to look for new agency—UPDATED


Since the story about Volkswagen’s creative account moving to DDB was shared on Friday, FCB has been in touch to share this comment about losing the account:

“FCB were informed by EMD that DDB were moving into the Giltrap HQ on Great North Road. As a result they had to relinquish the BMW account and had therefore been offered the VW creative business as compensation. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished creatively for VW during our tenure and look forward to continuing to work with them through FCB Media.”

Original story, 15 June:

Volkswagen’s creative account has returned to DDB without a pitch in a move that will see the agency part ways with BMW and Mini.

DDB and BMW Group released a joint statement to StopPress, saying a tender process for a new creative agency for BMW and Mini will commence shortly, as a result of incumbent agency DDB relinquishing the existing service contract.

“DDB wishes BMW Group well for the future. BMW Group thanks DDB for consistently strong work over the last five years.”

Despite that strong work, BMW/Mini did put DDB and a number of other agencies through a long-winded pitch process that ran from August 2016 to May 17, but decided to stay with DDB. 

The move of Volkswagen’s creative account sees it shift from incumbent FCB and return to DDB after five years. 

FCB picked up the Volkswagen account from Colenso BBDO in 2015, with the challenge of helping the brand win back people’s trust after news of its emission-cheating software broke. Prior to Colenso’s appointment the account was held by DDB for 11 years.

It was originally thought that the decision to move back to DDB was linked to a global realignment, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. VW is currently undertaking a review of its global creative agencies at a holding company level, but no decision appears to have been made. In the US, Interpublic has the account through Deutsch, while Omnicom’s DDB, which has a long history with the brand, has it in most European markets. When asked why the account moved back to DDB now and without a pitch, DDB said it was because of the quality of the work that was done during the previous relationship. 

FCB remains the creative agency for Audi, as well as the media agency for Volkswagen and the other European Motor Distributor brands Porsche and Skoda. 

Tom Ruddenklau, general manager of Volkswagen NZ, says he is looking forward to the opportunities the new partnership will bring.

“Volkswagen is a special brand and over the past five years we have had quite an adventure in terms of business development and growth. However, you also learn some lessons and realise that there is a timelessness about the Volkswagen communications. This requires great discipline to stay true to and it is great to be returning to DDB.”

He paid tribute to FCB’s creative work over the past few years and said the ability to continue to tap into the talent from a media perspective was “critical to our ongoing growth and development”. 

Marty O’Halloran, DDB Group NZ and Australia CEO, says partnering with Volkswagen again is an exciting opportunity and drawing on the expertise of DDB’s global network, which has relationships with VW in a plethora of international markets, offers some compelling possibilities.

DDB is also thought to be moving offices soon. Staff are thought to have been told about the move but a source suggests it could be in an interesting location: the new Giltrap Building on Great North Road, the HQ of European Motor Distributors and prestige showroom. When asked to confirm whether they were moving, DDB had no comment to make. 

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