Omnicom swoops to wrest Mercedes from Publicis

The fur may be flying at Publicis’ swish Paris HQ today as the ‘Power of One’ agency group finds itself well and truly gazumped by Omnicom, which has pinched the entire Mercedes account including creative, media and performance marketing.

In 2018 Publicis thought it had won most of Mercedes’ business with the formation of a new agency Publicis Emil. Omnicom, though, held media and some other work and has now bought German creative Antoni (which continued to work on Mercedes creative) and PR firm OSK to form a new all-encompassing agency with the unoriginal moniker Team X. Antoni and OSK bring around 400 staff.

Mercedes says: “Omnicom Group presented a compelling approach, envisioning an integrated and tailor-made agency solution unlocking a holistic view of the consumer across every brand-defining touchpoint, experience and moment along the customer journey. The model combines the ability to further augment desirability for our brand portfolio while using powerful data to identify and capture future demand potentials.”

Omnicom CEO John Wren says: “Mercedes-Benz was looking for a holistic agency partner that could help deploy a sustainable and globally consistent luxury experience for the company’s brand promise around the world for the first time.

“Our newly formed ‘Team X’ delivers on that goal, creating a streamlined global structure with clear single points of contact, as well as innovative data and analytics connected in every layer. We look forward to supporting Mercedes-Benz in a long-term partnership to further increase the desirability of its brand portfolio and pioneer the creation of personalized and highly effective customer communications.”

It’s undoubtedly a coup for Omnicom, hitherto regarded as somewhat sleepy in the agency M&A game, and a blow for Publicis. The Emil deal never looked enirely convincing as Antoni, formerly independent, carried on with Mercedes.

Holding company agencies focussed on one client don’t have the happiest record however. Team X (it’ll probably be called something different soon, like Antoni) has its work cut out as Mercedes, along with its German rivals, plays catch-up in the the electric vehicles game with a raft of new models.

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About Stephen Foster

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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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