BMW Motorcycles in Play

NEW YORK BMW Motorcycles has launched a review of creative duties on its ad account, which has been handled by Merkley + Partners since early 1998, sources said. Estimated billings are $5 million.

Merkley, an Omnicom Group shop in New York, has parted with the Woodcliff Lake, N.J., client and will not defend, according to sources. The agency declined comment, and client executives could not immediately be reached.

In addition to print and radio ads, Merkley has in recent years created interactive ads for the brand. The current campaign uses the tagline, “The ride is on.” In 2001, the shop also created a handful of TV spots that ran on national cable networks.

Key decision makers in the review include Dirk Biehler and Laurence Kuykendall, said sources. Kuykendall, who oversees advertising day-to-day, is a former account supervisor at Merkley who joined BMW Motorcycles in 2000.

Major media spending on the brand totaled more than $5 million in the first 11 months of 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Full-year spending in previous years hovered around $4-5 million.