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BMW hires Goodby as lead creative agency in US

By Published on .

CES 2017 – BMW 5 series Connected Mobility
CES 2017 – BMW 5 series Connected Mobility Credit: BMW

BMW has appointed Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as its lead creative agency in the U.S., following a competitive review.

The finalists in the pitch, which was handled by Roth Ryan Hayes, included Goodby, Droga5, Wieden & Kennedy, Anomaly and Hill Holliday. Representatives from Goodby, Roth Ryan Hayes and BMW were not immediately available for comment.

The incumbent agency was MDC Partners-owned KBS. The shop over the last year had steadily lost other pieces of the brand's U.S. business. In December 2016, BMW handed web development to Omnicom's Critical Mass after a review that was also run by Roth Ryan Hayes. Critical Mass' relationship with BMW was not affected by the recent creative review. The creative review began in late October.

BMW originally considered 25 agencies before paring its list to five finalists, the brand said in a statement Thursday. "Goodby Silverstein & Partners are well known for their outstanding creative capabilities as well as their ability to reach millions of consumers with the feeling of speaking only to you," stated Trudy Hardy, VP of marketing for BMW of North America. "They are a smart team who has consistently developed impactful work on behalf of their clients. We are looking forward to a strong partnership with them in the years to come."

"BMW is one of the most classic brands on the entire planet. As a young designer growing up wanting to be in advertising, I was always in awe of the line 'The Ultimate Driving Machine.' To be able to be part of that legacy and bring it into the next generation to buy the car is an honor. And we don't take that lightly. Besides, I love driving fast cars," Rich Silverstein, co-founder and co-chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, said in BMW's statement.

According to someone with knowledge of the matter, the retainer on the BMW creative business is about $12 million, but with projects throughout the year, it could be about $20 million. When Critical Mass was hired, people familiar with the matter told Ad Age that the web development account was between $10 to $15 million.

Goodby is no stranger to the automotive category. The shop previously worked on General Motors' Chevrolet and now-defunct Saturn brand and of late has done regular work for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, including a Super Bowl ad for the Ram brand last month. Goodby worked on Porsche in the 1990s and Hyundai and Saturn in the early 2000s. Goodby would seemingly have to stop working for FCA now that it is BMW's lead shop.

The BMW win continues a recent momentum swing for Goodby, which was named Ad Age's 2018 Comeback Agency of the Year, after winning notable accounts including Liberty Mutual and Pepsi. Margaret Johnson, the Omnicom agency's first chief creative officer and first female partner, was named Ad Age's 2018 Executive of the Year.

Goodby will be taking on BMW as dealers lobby for more marketing support while the luxury brand rolls out new vehicles in the coming months. "We feel we need more marketing money for these launches, but we're going to work with BMW," Patrick Womack, chairman of the BMW National Dealer Forum, told Automotive News. "The message was sent when we were in Munich by a few other dealers that we would like to see some more emphasis put on marketing and the budget from Munich."

A lot is at stake as BMW tries to overcome a sales slump. U.S. sales fell 2.4 percent last year, according to Auto News.

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