DDB wins most of VW creative worldwide but WPP triumphs against the odds in North America

Volkswagen has concluded its global creative review with a rather odd choice of agencies: WPP, still on the Ford roster globally handling “activation” and media, has been appointed to handle North America creative while DDB looks like the big winner worldwide with VW in Europe (VW’s heartland), Middle East and Africa plus South America and Cheil winning the business in China.

The review looks procurement-driven as VW, vying to be the world’s biggest car manufacturer with Japan’s Toyota, wrestles with the fall-out from the emissions scandal and promises to spend €40bn on electric cars in a bid to overtake Tesla.

Quite how WPP reconciles its work for Ford with VW remains to be seen but, whatever happens, it’s a welcome shot in the arm for embattled WPP CEO Mark Read. It’s not known which WPP agency will handle VW in North America but it’s likely to be a special construct, along the lines of its GTB agency for Ford.

For DDB it’s a signature win: DDB Germany has been VW’s lead agency for years but adam&eveDDB in the UK also plays a key part – and is believed to have been involved in the pitch – with a classy back catalogue of work for VW.

It’s another good result for DDB global CEO Wendy Clark, whose agency recently won the giant $4bn US Army account from McCann. Clark got herself into hot water by hiring former Droga5 CCO Ted Royer to work on the VW US pitch – and dissembling about it initially – but she seems to have the magic dust as far as big global clients are concerned.

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