BMW SELECTS EIGHT AGENCIES FOR AD REVIEW

National Creative Work Valued at $70 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- BMW of North America today chose eight agencies as semifinalists to compete for the automaker’s $70 million national creative advertising account, according to a company spokeswoman.
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In the running for the next round of competition are New York agencies Anomaly, an independent shop; WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell; Publicis Groupe’s Publicis Worldwide; and MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Other agencies are Omnicom Group’s GSD&M, Austin; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; and independents Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

End of year
The group will be narrowed to three or four in October, said Karen Vondermeulen, BMW North America's marketing and events communications manager. A winner will be selected by the end of the year.

Until now, BMW has not commented on the scope of responsibilities for this review. BMW divides brand advertising duties between a national account, valued at $70 million, and a regional one, valued at approximately $90 million. Regional responsibilites are handled by Publicis, New York and Dallas, and WPP's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles.

She emphasized that this review covers creative duties for BMW’s national account only. Media planning and buying, now at Publicis’ Optimedia, is also not changed.

BMW’s agency for 10 years, Publicis’ Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, which in 2001 unveiled its much-lauded series of short films, The Hire, opted to resign the account when the review was announced in mid-June.

Putting account in play
Jack Pitney, the successor to longtime BMW marketing chief James McDowell, put the account in play only two months after switching jobs with Mr. McDowell, who now heads marketing at BMW's Mini USA arm as vice president of sales and marketing.

Mini USA’s agency of record, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, owned by MDC, is not part of the BMW of North America review. BMW has said it wants to keep the two brands separate.

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