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KBS+P's' BMW Win Follows Years of Car Chases

Mini, Kia, Hyundai among brands the shop pitched

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When it comes to car accounts, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners has historically been the bridesmaid—pitching brands such as Mini Cooper, Kia, Hyundai, and BMW every few years but never taking home the big prize.

Well, all those years of practice have finally paid off with BMW of North America choosing the New York shop as its new lead creative agency. Kirshenbaum beat four other finalists—The Martin Agency, Gotham, Cundari, and Grey West, which pursued just the dealer half of the business—to claim the prize. BMW, which last year spent about $160 million in media, represents arguably the biggest win since the agency opened in 1987.

Kirshenbaum entered the review as an insider, having handled national projects for BMW since the fall. The agency's Dotglu unit also has created direct and interactive marketing for the automaker since 2005.

The Dotglu assignment was a consolation prize of sorts from BMW's last big creative pitch, in which Kirshenbaum was a finalist. Back then, GSD&M was the big winner. The Austin, Texas, shop split with BMW late last year, however, setting the stage for this year's contest.

BMW's multicultural advertising also was in play and remains to be assigned. Incumbents Bromley Communications (Hispanic market) and Matlock Advertising and Public Relations (African-American market) are defending against an unidentified shop. (Media duties were not part of the review and remain at Universal McCann.) New York consultancy Roth Associates is managing the process.

In selecting Kirshenbaum, BMW vp of marketing Dan Creed said the agency's final presentation "energized our team, demonstrating a strong platform of impressive brand insight and memorable creative execution." Well, now Kirshenbaum finally has the platform to prove its mettle in the automotive category, this time on the main stage.