The Havas agency has two separate creative teams, one toiling on Volvo's global creative pitch and the other on the Hyundai review, according to executives at both automakers.
In the pitch for the Korean automaker, Arnold is up against Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners; independents Strawberry Frog and Siltanen & Partners; and MDC Partner's Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. All agencies are slated to present next week at the company's U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, Calif.
Anne Belec, president-CEO of Volvo Cars North America, and a member of the review panel, told Advertising Age today at the New York Auto Show that should Arnold win the Volvo account, it would expect Arnold to withdraw from the Hyundai review.
She said Arnold did not tell her personally it was pitching both automakers, but it may have told Tim Ellis, global advertising director of Volvo Cars at its worldwide headquarters in Sweden. Mr. Ellis could not be reached for comment.
Ms. Belec said she and members of the review panel will meet tomorrow morning in Manhattan for a "working session" with the two finalists. The final pitches are in mid April in Europe, either in London or Sweden.
Executives at Arnold declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Arnold's competitor in the Volvo review, denied claims that Fallon was also playing the field. Apparently, the Minneapolis agency had spoken with Hyundai, but decided to focus purely on Volvo.