In Search of Global Agency, BMW Lands in Texas

GSD&M Beat Out Four Other Shops for Creative Account

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DETROIT ( -- Germany's BMW AG has made the uncommon move of taking its worldwide ad account and parking it at a U.S. shop without much global experience.

BMW tapped GSD&M Idea City, Austin, Texas, as its lead global creative agency of record for brand advertising after a two-month review that will consolidate the business with the Omnicom Group agency. The automaker's business is the shop's first global account.


GSD&M, which handles BMW's U.S. creative and media accounts, bested four other shops, a spokesman at the automaker said. "We're all looking for efficiencies," he said of the marketer's move to consolidate the creative account, referring to the auto industry's global slump. He declined to reveal the value of the account.

The four other regional incumbents that pitched were WCRS, BMW's U.K. agency; MAB in Germany; Ireland & Davenport in South Africa; and Interone in China. In the past these shops competed against each other to be the lead agency for key BMW assignments globally as part of the automaker's so-called International Power House panel. Those pitches will now be eliminated.

GSD&M's creative will be adapted for all media worldwide, including internet, auto shows and events. The agency is studying whether to open a service office in Munich near BMW's worldwide headquarters, a spokesman at the shop said.

"We are delighted to have an agency such as GSD&M Idea City with the potential to set further creative benchmarks with BMW global brand communications in the future," said Jan-Christiaan Koenders, director-brand communication and group marketing services at BMW.

A new brand campaign from GSD&M will break in Europe this summer and will later be rolled out to other parts of the world.

GSD&M's Chicago office handles BMW's U.S. media account, which went into review last September. The agency is a finalist with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann for the business. The BMW spokesman said the long-awaited, postponed decision is now expected by the end of the month.

The BMW auto brand spent $104 million in U.S. measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

In recent years, GSD&M has struggled with client losses including Walmart and AT&T.

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