GSD&M Captures BMW Account

NEW YORK GSD&M has won creative chores on BMW’s North American ad account following a review.

The competition came down to MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York and Omnicom Group’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas.

Independent Anomaly in New York and Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., were cut from contention last week [Adweek Online, Nov. 4].

The automaker spent $150 million overall on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. According to the initial brief sent to agencies, the automaker will spend about $70-80 million next year on brand advertising.

Consultancy Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., handled the review process.

Client vice president of marketing Jack Pitney said GSD&M would be allowed to “compete with [BMW] regional agencies” Grey (a WPP shop) and Publicis (a unit of Publicis Groupe) for local assignments as they become available. BMW’s regional work makes up the other $70-80 million of the client’s annual ad spending.

Pitney said BMW would increase its ad spend in 2006 but would not say by how much. New work under GSD&M is expected to break next March, he said.

“We have some very aggressive growth plans in the U.S.,” Pitney said.

GSD&M co-founder and president Roy Spence said the agency learned it had won the account when BMW executives showed up with a traditional Bavarian band, a BMW banner and beer and pretzels. (During a conference call with reporters, the band could be heard playing in the background.)

The win comes after two near misses for GSD&M in reviews for Subaru and Kia last year. GSD&M’s only previous car account was Land Rover, which it held from March 2000 until October 2002, when the client moved the business to shops that work for its parent Ford Motor Co.

“It feels great because BMW is such a premiere brand,” Spence said. “This one really got our juices flowing. We had over 250 people who touched this pitch.”

Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia continues to handle media buying and planning, which were not part of the review.

BMW and incumbent Fallon in Minneapolis, a Publicis Groupe agency, split in June as the business was put into play. Fallon handled the account for 10 years.

BMW is holding a separate review for its $25 million Mini Cooper account, resigned by MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami last month so the shop could take on the Volkswagen business. The contenders in that review are independents Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, Calif., and Mother and StrawberryFrog, both in New York.

This story updates an item posted earlier today with BMW’s confirmation and additional details of GSD&M’s victory.