BSSP Resigns BMW Mini Account After More Than 11 Years

Resignation Comes Before Next Creative Agency Review

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L-R: BSSP's Tom Coates, John Butler and Keith Cartwright
L-R: BSSP's Tom Coates, John Butler and Keith Cartwright Credit: BSSP

After 11 and-a-half years with the brand, Butler Shine Stern & Partners has resigned as U.S. advertising agency for BMW's Mini, a move that comes ahead of the automaker's upcoming creative review.

BSSP, which participated in the last review and retained the business, has "initiated the termination clause in its contract" ahead of another anticipated review, according to a statement from the agency. During the most recent review in 2012, BSSP was up against Via, BBH and Fitzgerald in the pitch, Ad Age previously reported.

The statement said that BMW's "aggressive cost-cutting and procurement-mandated reviews," as well as the consolidation of the media business for both BMW and Mini under Interpublic Group's UM, which led to "reduction in staffing," have " all contributed to the financial challenges of managing the business profitably."

"This has been a difficult decision for the agency. Over the years, we have created great work with the talented team at Mini," said John Butler, chief creative officer at BSSP, in a statement. "It's unusual to have such an extended relationship with a client. We appreciate that opportunity."

Mariella Kapsaskis, Mini communications manager for BMW North America, said in a statement that Mini USA is initiating a creative agency review. She also stated that BSSP decided not to participate in the review and has resigned the business. "We respect their decision and appreciate their great work and partnership over the past 11 years," she said.

Mini, which declined to disclose timing or potential agencies participating in the review, said its current agency roster will support communications needs in the interim. The closed review will be managed by The Burnett Collective.

Some of BSSP's recent work for Mini includes its celebrity-packed 2016 Super Bowl spot, "Defy Labels," which encourages people to shed the labels society places on them. The campaign was continued that summer for the Olympics, with a new ad that asserted the only label that matters is "Olympian."

BMW Group, which includes BMW North America, Mini USA and Rolls-Royce North America, spent $314.1 million on total U.S. advertising in 2015, according to the Ad Age Datacenter, and $185 million on measured media, according to Kantar Media.

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