Meet the Volkswagen Hotshop That Isn't Crispin

A Mexican Agency That Knows the Hard Sell and Branding Work Together

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Volkswagen's ad account is aligned within DDB around the world, but for a few exceptions. One, of course, is Crispin Porter & Bogusky in the U.S. Another is in Mexico, where the automaker decided to assign the hard-sell part of the business -- which represents almost 60% of the VW account in the country -- to a 2-year-old independent agency called Arrechedera Claverol.

The agency knew how to seduce the VW team. It started working with VW a little over a year ago, handling internet creative duties. After some time, it decided to go for the bigger fish: the hard-sell business, which was, until last month, with DDB.

Sebastian Arrechedera
Sebastian Arrechedera
No pitch was necessary. Arrechedera Claverol sensed that VW needed to develop a type of communication for the hard sell that would also help build up the brand, and presented a project that, evidently, the car manufacturer simply couldn't resist.

"We always felt there were many ways to generate communication for hard sell that improved both strategically and creatively," said co-founder Sebastian Arrechedera.

DDB arrived in Mexico 40 years ago with the main purpose of working with VW in that market. It continues to work with the carmaker there, and recently started handling all the VW brands, also a significant part of the business, which, until now, DDB shared with another agency called Zeta.

Arrechedera Claverol's model, a slightly different structure than other agencies', seems to be working wonders for it. The agency is divided into four areas: creative, innovation, knowledge and synchronization. Instead of having a rigid structure, the innovation department changes its staff periodically, in order to make sure its ideas are always fresh and renewed. The contribution of the knowledge area is also crucial: Instead of basing its creative work just on research done by consultants, it has a permanent team working directly on the street, observing consumers and their everyday agendas.

"It's incredibly gratifying to start working for such an emblematic advertising account. We both started working in Mexico for this brand and have grown professionally next to VW," said Juan Claverol, co-founder and director of client services at the agency.

Juan Claverol
Juan Claverol
Mr. Arrechedera and Mr. Claverol had worked at DDB Mexico for many years. Mr. Claverol used to be account director for VW. Neither was born in the country; Mr. Claverol grew up in Argentina, and Mr. Arrechedera is Venezuelan. He has built up a notable reputation as a creative man in the Mexican market.

Two years ago, they left DDB Mexico to launch their own agency. This is how they spelled out their plans back then: "We want to become the hottest independent agency in Mexico." Having gained some of the most interesting advertisers of the country -- such as Sony Entertainment Television, Diageo (Johnnie Walker, Pampero, Tanqueray, Buchanan's, Ciroc and Zacapa), Axa Seguros and PepsiCo (Be-Light Vitamin Water) -- they appear to be on the right track.

Here's an example of Arrechedera Claverol's work for Volkswagen. The idea behind the promotion is to award prior VW owners for their loyalty. "Prove to us that you've owned a Volkswagen, and we'll give you up to 15 thousand pesos to buy a brand new Jetta," says the narrator. The key is the slogan, "Tu Volkswagen siempre vale," or "Your Volkswagen is always valuable."

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Valentina Vescovi is originally from Uruguay and lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She completed her degree in psychology in Uruguay and the U.S., and later became a journalist. She has worked for Uruguayan and Argentine media firms (among them Adlatina, a magazine and website that specializes in the Latin advertising industry) and is co-director of a new freelance-journalism firm called S.A. Journalists.

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