The changing nature of big pitches: Playstation and VW

It’s disruption all over the place these days with big clients now re-modelling the way they deal with their agencies every time there’s a pitch.

Now Sony Playstation, formerly with BBH in the US, is reported to be looking for three or four agencies to handle its global creative account with R/GA, 180 and Grey still in the game. The bad news is that they’ll be required to pitch for projects as they come along, the good news is that, according to Adweek, they’ll be paid for doing so.


Adweek also reckons the average cost of these will be at least $250,000, which seems a lot for a few storyboards and a bit of dusted off research, but maybe that’s changed as well.

Meanwhile more details have emerged about the WPP team that won VW’s North America advertising from Interpublic’s Deutsch.

WPP put forward a cross-company, multi-disciplinary team comprising Possible (a digital media network now part of Wunderman), creative agencies David and Taxi, Geometry Global (CRM) and production agency Hogarth. Apparently other WPP agencies will play a part too, as if this lot wasn’t enough.

This so-called “powerhouse agency” will handle creative, digital, dealer ads and production in the US, Canada and Mexico. Omnicom’s PHD handles VW global media.

VW says it’s reshaping its marketing around “customer IDs,” which sounds a bit alarming if you’re a customer. One of my neighbours recently swapped his VW Up! (a very small and not that rapid car) for a top of the range Audi TT sports car. Try tracking that customer journey.

WPP CEO Mark Read, who must be feeling rather pleased with himself, says: “We are delighted and proud to have been appointed as Volkswagen’s lead creative partner in North America. WPP now offers a powerful combination of creativity, commerce, data and technology services that is increasingly resonating with clients. Volkswagen is one of the world’s iconic brands and we are very excited to have been given the opportunity to help reshape the company’s marketing and support its transformation.”

It’s still not clear how well this fits with WPP’s remaining North America duties for Ford. It’s lost creative to BBDO and Wieden+Kennedy but retains all the rest, including media. Maybe Ford and VW are planning some sort of alliance. Such unlikely couplings do happen in the car industry as we’ve seen highlighted recently with the shenanigans at Renault-Nissan-Mitusbishi.

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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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