BMW’s Western Dealers Begin Creative Review

LOS ANGELES BMW of North America has launched a search for an agency to handle the creative portion of its Western U.S. regional account, the automaker confirmed.

The 10-year incumbent, Mendelsohn/Zien in Los Angeles, is participating in the review, said a representative for the client in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Mendelsohn/Zien officials could not immediately be reached. Tokyo-based communications conglomerate Hakuhodo in May bought a minority stake in the shop.

Billings for the assignment are about $30 million, the client said. BMW spent nearly $110 million on ads in 2002, while BMW Dealer Associations spent $22 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Select Resources International in West Hollywood, Calif., is leading the search.

BMW’s Western region encompasses 76 dealers in 13 Western states, including California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon.

The company’s regional advertising is designed to “motivate potential purchasers to take a test drive,” according to a statement issued today by BMW. The selected agency is expected to work with BMW’s national agency, Fallon in Minneapolis, to ensure that the “tone and quality of BMW’s advertising efforts speak with the same voice,” according to the statement.

The search is expected to conclude before the end of the year.