VW embarks on marathon global media pitch

Another day, another massive media review.

This time it’s Volkswagen Group whose brands include VW itself, Audi, Skoda and Seat. VW’s contract with Omnicom’s PHD (hired in 2016) expires at the end of 2023 so this looks set to be another marathon. VW, which spends around $4bn, told Campaign: “In the coming year, there will be a regular tender for the Volkswagen Group’s media agency contract, which has been in place since 2016 and runs until the end of 2023.

“This will be the responsibility of Jason Lusty, who has taken over group marketing in addition to brand and marketing strategy.” Lusty has been head of marketing at Audi and Seat, among other roles.

VW and, indeed, Audi used to be famous for their advertising, going all the way back to Doyle Dane Bernbach in the 1960’s (‘Lemon’ and all those for the Beetle) and years of good stuff from BBH for Audi. Like other car companies though, it’s preferred to focus on digital in recent years at the cost (some might say) of losing these hard-earned identities.

Media agencies call the shots these days because of the sheer weight of money involved: It’s become harder to convince such clients of the merits of a classic advertising campaign when someone at the back is saying: YouTube is better value.

VW is certainly one of the 50 or so major global clients that consultant Avi Dan identified in a recent article as the ones the big holding companies were concentrating on, the ones whose billings had the weight to shift the dial in terms of their financial performance.

WPP will almost certainly be back in the frame (Ford permitting) as will Publicis (ditto Mercedes.) One certainty is that, whenever this pitch is resolved, the winner will be praised for its “data-driven” capabilities and “agile” or “nimble” approach (delete where necessary.)

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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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