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Plotting Media Reviews, Volkswagen and BMW Are Now Part of Mediapalooza 2015

Reviews total $8.3 billion in spending, so far

BMW's search will be for the U.S., while VW's is global.

Why should the players in packaged goods, financial services and cosmetics have all the fun?

The automakers Volkswagen Group and BMW are now part of Mediapalooza 2015, an unprecedented year of media reviews with spending exceeding $16 billion—and counting.

VW's review is global and encompasses all of the group's brands—Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche—according to sources. Collectively, those brands spend more than $1 billion in media annually worldwide, including $600 million in the U.S.

VW Group employs several media agencies around the world, but its primary shop is WPP Group's MediaCom, which is expected to defend. The process will most likely extend into late fall. MediaCom declined to comment, and VW could not immediately be reached.

BMW's media search, which has yet to begin, is for the U.S. market, where spending exceeds $150 million. One source expects it to start in August. Interpublic Group's UM is the incumbent.

UM did not return messages. A BMW representative reached by email said, "We don't currently have an agency review underway for our media buying."

Asked if the company planned a review since its last media search took place many years ago, the rep said, "It is a standard BMW process to put all contracts up for review every few years. I cannot speak to when we will conduct that review."

UM landed the account in 2009, beating out four other finalists. At the time, the business shifted from then incumbent GSD&M.

During this year's Super Bowl, BMW aired a 60-second ad from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners that featured Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble marveling at the technology behind the BMW i3. "Newfangled Idea" was released online six days before the game, racking up more than 3.8 million views in five days.

Here's another look at that ad:

 

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