MPG, MediaCom Vie for Account

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DETROIT ( -- Volkswagen of America is reviewing its U.S. media buying account for the VW and Audi brands. The review pits the incumbent, Havas' MPG, against Grey Global Group's MediaCom.

MediaCom handles the automaker in most

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parts of the world outside the U.S., but MediaCom's parent, Grey Global Group, will soon be acquired by WPP Group, which counts Ford Motor Co. as one of its largest global clients.

$800 million globally
The German automaker on Sept. 30 said it is evaluating its $800 million global media services account. The New York offices of MediaCom and MPG will pitch the U.S. portion of the account.

The Audi and VW brands spent a total of $430 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Separately, Zafar Brooks, general marketing manager the VW brand in the U.S. and Canada, left the automaker two weeks ago, a spokesman said, adding that Mr. Brooks opted to leave the marketer rather than take another unnamed position.

Mr. Brooks first joined VW in 2002 as team leader for sales, parts and service of its Western region after 16 years at Ford Motor Co. He was named general marketing manager Jan. 5 and was based at VW's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Karen Marderosian, marketing manager, will fulfill his duties until his replacement is named.

Mr. Brooks could not be reached for comment.

'Drive it'
Mr. Brooks shepherded the current "Drive it. You'll get it" integrated campaign this past spring in an effort to boost sales. The ad blitz also was aimed at explaining "what makes a Volkswagen a Volkswagen," Mr. Brooks told Advertising Age magazine in March.

VW's U.S. sales through September slid by nearly 16% to 195,530 units, according to sibling Automotive News.