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BMW's $200 Mil. Account to UM

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BMW has selected Interpublic Group's Universal McCann here to handle media chores after a review, the client has confirmed.

The other finalist was the incumbent, Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas.

The assignment includes national media duties for the Woodcliff Lake, N.J., carmaker and some dealer group chores.

All told, the work moving to UM is worth about $200 million, according to sources.

BMW spent $150 million on domestic ads in 2008, roughly in line with the previous year's spending, according to Nielsen.

"We are thrilled to have UM onboard as our new media buying and planning partner," said Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing, BMW of North America. "The agency has a solid reputation for excellence, and we look forward to a very productive relationship."  A client rep added that it was "very close race," between two highly qualified finalists, which helped prolong the contest, which began last fall.

The client confirmed the media review in September and by November had winnowed the field of contenders down to five. Beside the two finalists, that mix included independents Horizon Media and Targetcast:TCM and Aegis Group's Carat.

GSD&M is the lead national creative agency for BMW. Those chores were not part of just concluded media review.

Earlier this month, the shop expanded its creative BMW assignment, with the automaker naming the shop its lead global agency for duties previously shared among various resources. BMW's first international work via GSD&M will use the central theme "Joy." It will be adapted across all media worldwide including the Internet, car shows and events, the client said today.

That work rolls out in Europe this summer and hits the U.S. in early 2010. The global assignment came just a week after the client unveiled a new creative campaign dubbed "Expression of joy" to help launch its Z4 Roadster.

The media competition was overseen by Manuel Reyes of Cortex Consulting Group in Ocala, Fla., an affiliate of London-based consultancy AuditStar.

On the positive side for GSD&M, in addition to adding the global creative work from BMW, the agency won Ace Hardware's $40 million-plus ad business yesterday.