DDB wins global corporate Bayer account outside U.S.

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LEVERKSEN, Germany -- Bayer, the German chemical giant, has awarded its global corporate image account outside the U.S., to DDB Needham Worldwide. The European account was previously handled by Publicis/MCD, Munich. Grey Advertising-owned media independent MediaCom will handle media buying and planning out of its Dusseldorf office.

The U.S. corporate advertising account remains with Foote, Cone & Belding, according to a spokesman at Bayer's U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh.

In Germany alone, Bayer will spend $6m on the image campaign and $10m in the U.S. The company has not decided how much it will spend in the rest of Europe and Asia.

The Leverksen-based chemical, pharmaceutical and film company awarded the account to DDB, Dusseldorf. In February, Bayer invited DDB and five other agencies to pitch: FCA!/BMZ, BBDO Worldwide, Grey Advertising and Rempen & Partner, all Dusseldorf, and Cologne-based Barten & Barten.

Bayer executives in Germany felt that the company's previous image campaign and its slogan "Bayer - competence and responsibility" was not effective. The goal of the new corporate image campaign is to inform consumers in an emotional way about Bayer's wide range of products from Aspirin, Agfa film and products such as car parts that are made from Bayer materials.

"We wanted a campaign which informed the consumers of our wide product range in an emotional and easy-to-understand way," says Christine Benn, manager of corporate identity at Bayer. "Early during the pitch we were convinced that DDB had by far presented the most creative campaign, but before deciding on a new agency, we had all campaigns tested," Benn says. "We were also convinced that working with DDB would cause no problems for us."

Bayer's other main roster agencies internationally are BBDO and Grey. In December 1995 Bayer consolidated its Bayer aspirin and other consumer care product advertising accounts, then worth between $250 million and $285 million, with BBDO Worldwide. For that account the final pitch came down to BBDO and fellow Omnicom Group agency DDB. Grey handles a mixture of prescription and over-the-counter medicine accounts for Bayer in different markets around the world.

The Bayer win is the second triumph for Klaus Flettner, who became chairman of DDB's operations in Germany on January 1. His new team unexpectedly clung onto the $80 million Volkswagen account in Germany. "The cooperation with Bayer has been excellent and to create an image campaign for the wide product ranges has been a challenge for the agency," Flettner says.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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