Assignment Covers Western U.S.

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- BMW of North America today began a search for an ad agency to handle the creative portion of its advertising account covering 76 retailers in 13 Western states. Billings are estimated at $30 million.

Incumbent of 10 years
Mendelsohn/Zien, Los Angeles, which has handled the account for 10 years, is expected to participate in the review, according to a release issued by the BMW. BMW's factory agency, Publicis Groupe's Fallon, is not expected to be one of the contenders, one executive familiar with the situation said.

Richard Zien, president of Mendelsohn/Zien, said his agency has taken BMW in the West to a leading position in the luxury-car category, and to eight consecutive years of record sales. "There are a lot of new people [at BMW]," he said.

Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., will conduct the search.

Test drive emphasis
In its announcement, BMW said its regional ad program is intended to "motivate potential purchasers to take a test drive." The agency will need to work with national brand guidelines to ensure that the tone and quality of BMW's combined advertising efforts speak with the same voice."

Overall billings for BMW were $80.6 million from January through June 2003, with spending for full-year 2002 at $120 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Publicis' Optimedia does media buying for BMW.

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