BMW NAMES GSD&M AD AGENCY OF RECORD

Beats Out Kirshenbaum & Bond for $80 Million National Creative Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- BMW of North America has awarded its $80 million national creative advertising account to Omnicom Group’s GSD&M following a review.
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The Austin, Texas-based agency beat out MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. The review was narrowed to two last week, when the marketer cut Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., and independent Anomaly, New York. Incumbent Fallon, Minneapolis, part of the Publicis Group, declined to defend.

New CMO
In a conference call tonight, BMW marketing chief Jack Pitney said the automaker will take a “more holistic” approach to marketing, borrowing from the launch of BMW Mini, well-known for its use of PR, event marketing and other below-the-line disciplines. Mr. Pitney, who succeeded 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 Mini USA as VP-sales and marketing.

Mr. Pitney said the tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine” will remain, and that national and dealer association spending combined could exceed $150 million. He would not specify by how much or what media the increases would affect. “TV will play an important role,” Mr. Pitney said.

Regional agency status
GSD&M’s duties will include broadcast, print and interactive work, as well as media planning, customer relationship marketing, direct marketing, point-of-sale and events marketing. While BMW will maintain its regional agencies, GSD&M will be allowed to pitch against them for assignments on “an equal footing,” as Mr. Pitney put it. New creative is expected by next spring.

Both Kirshenbaum and GSD&M have a lot of experience pitching car accounts. GSD&M was a finalist in four other auto reviews since 1997, for Mazda, Land Rover, Subaru of America and Kia Motors America. It won Land Rover in 2000, but lost the account in 2002 after BMW sold the brand to Ford Motor Co., which consolidated the business at WPP Group’s Y&R, London. GSD&M dropped out of the Subaru review last year to pursue Kia.

Kirshenbaum was also a finalist in Kia’s review, the Mini USA pitch in 2001 and a semifinalist in Jaguar’s review earlier this year.

'This time we won'
Asked why his agency was victorious with BMW, GSD&M's founder-president, Roy Spence, said, “The thing we did differently this time was we won.”

A few weeks ago, BMW’s German parent reported a third-quarter net profit of $537 million, 6% lower than the year-ago period and its second straight quarter of lower earnings. The marketer cited the weak U.S. dollar against the euro, an intense competitive level and dramatic jumps in raw material prices compared to a year ago. BMW said it sold 11.4% more vehicles, or 988,463 globally through October than a year ago. In the U.S., BMW is the second-best-selling luxury nameplate, posting 10-month unit sales of 213,063 or a 1% increase from the comparable period a year ago, according to Automotive News.

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