Volvo Restructures Global Agency Relationships

Dismantles 'Team Volvo' Unit, Makes Arnold Lead Global Creative Agency

By Published on .

Swedish carmaker Volvo is moving to a new global advertising structure. As part of the shift, it will dismantle "Team Volvo" and instead park lead global duties at Havas' Arnold .

Most significantly, the move means Arnold becomes the agency of record for Volvo in both the U.K. and in China. That's a major vote of confidence in the Boston-based agency, which is a newcomer in both of those markets.

Volvo C30
Volvo C30
Arnold had already handled Volvo's creative work in North America, but it was sharing the account with SapientNitro. SapientNitro is being cut from the roster in the China and U.K. markets, but it will hang on to Australia. Effective early next year, Arnold will take the helm for the Volvo account globally. It will continue to be managed by Global Brand Director Jorian Murray and Global Executive Creative Director Sean Thompson.

As a result of this shift, the Team Volvo model set up in 2010 -- which was a creative alliance between Arnold Worldwide, Euro RSCG 4D and SapientNitro -- will be broken down by the end of this year. Volvo is leaving behind a popular approach among carmakers to set up teams to support their ad business, such as WPP's Team Detroit, which works on Ford, and WPP's Team Mazda, as well as Team One , which works on Lexus.

The timing of Volvo's move coincides with a broader push by the carmaker to go from its tried-and-true messages of safety to focusing on design and luxury. It may also be related to the fact that Volvo, once part-owned by Ford and now controlled by Chinese company Geely, is now under new leadership.

In a statement, David Jones, global CEO of Havas, said: "These latest wins are proof of the solid relationship Arnold has established with such an iconic company. Arnold is flourishing as a global micronetwork, as evidenced not only by this win, but also from the long list of brands that have placed continued global faith in the agency."

That's a good thing, since the holding company -- which is significantly smaller than peers WPP, Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group -- has been desperately in need of an alternative network to Euro to help chase business. For so long, it's really only had Euro and media agency MPG to present to prospective global clients looking for agencies that can handle business in a number of markets.

Arnold has quickly fanned out around the globe to set up as a micronetwork, with operations in the U.K., China, Australia, and has just recently launched in Brazil via a joint venture with sibling shop Euro. Global CEO Andrew Benett is also actively seeking acquisitions there.

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