What will BMW come up with as it launches long-anticipated agency review?

Judging by recent events in the car industry, like Jaguar’s formation of new in-house agency Spark 44 (led by German executives), it could be just about anything.

First off are BMW’s US accounts, worth around $300m. National creative advertising is being handled on a project basis by MDC-owned Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, Grey West in San Francisco handles regional advertising and multicultural advertising is handled by Matlock in Atlanta and Bromley in San Antonio.

Here’s one of KBS’ Super Bowl efforts.

All the current agencies are being invited to pitch but it seems a certainty that pitch consultants Roth Observatory International (not a bunch of astronomers but the result of a merger between two consultancies Roth and Observatory) will ask some other contenders.

BMW, despite its often eccentric marketing (such as the ‘Joy’ global campaign produced by GSD&M Idea City) is one of the world’s most desirable accounts and the big marcoms companies and others are sure to be falling over themselves to win an opportunity to pitch.

Conflict is sure to be an issue of course although Grey’s foothold on the account will certainly be of interest to WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell (WPP’s O&M and JWT both work for Ford).

The UK’s WCRS has recently regained a place on the BMW roster with the appointment to handle the company’s new 6-series. Owner Engine Group, which is trying hard to expand in America, will be keen to remind BMW that WCRS’s ‘the ultimate driving machine’ was the best campaign BMW has run.

But where the US headline account leads the rest of the world is likely to follow, provided the lucky winner can offer a global solution.

Which is another thing the big marcoms companies will be trying to bring to BMW’s attention.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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