BMW Awards TV Work to Grey

LOS ANGELES WPP Group’s Grey has won its first BMW television assignments since reorganizing the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices more than a year ago.

The assignment came as the result of Grey here wining a shootout over Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in Dallas and New York and Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, both also BMW shops. BMW is structured with a national agency, GSD&M, and regional agencies that are allowed to compete for second-tier assignments.

Grey has landed an assignment for the 3 Series coupe, expected to break next month, as well as two spots for the “Ultimate Service Program,” scheduled to break in June, said ecd Roger Bentley.

Melissa Webber, ecd in Grey’s reorganized Los Angeles office, will oversee one of the two service spots, Bentley said.

Grey in Los Angeles’ last BMW TV push was in late 2005 for the X3.

Since then, ecd Bob Merlotti resigned, the Los Angeles agency was folded into Grey Direct, and all Grey shops in California were realigned under the Grey West banner and managing director Betsy Sperry.

Bentley, who has automotive experience on brands such as Mercedes-Benz and GMC, was brought in from Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners to head up the San Francisco shop.

Bentley said the 3 Series spot would be directed by Brent Jones at Aero Films, Santa Monica, Calif., and would show a woman altering her life in order to drive the 3 series coupe.

“It’s an exciting moment for the agency,” Bentley said. “We made BMW feel comfortable with the original production, which includes a third spot we had proposed some time ago that we were not anticipating. By linking up with Aero, we’ve shown a level of maturity that they probably didn’t know that we had.”

Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based BMW spent $160 million advertising in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, down 13 percent from the previous year.

BMW sales are up 7 percent through March to more than 67,000 units, according to Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.