Omnicom Picks Up Mercedes-Benz’s $950 Million Global Media Business

Client sent creative, digital to Publicis in February

WPP previously had the business in parts of Europe and Asia. Getty Images
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Daimler AG, the parent company of the Mercedes-Benz luxury auto brand, has awarded its global media planning and buying business to Omnicom Media Group after a competitive review, Daimler AG confirmed today.

The news concludes a review that began in May and marks a significant hit to both Publicis, which had previously managed a majority of the business in Europe and the APAC region, and WPP, which also handled markets primarily in South Asia and the Middle East. Omnicom was the incumbent in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The Chinese market was not reportedly impacted by the review; WPP’s 10-year relationship with Daimler in that region will continue as before.

Publicis and an IPG team led by Initiative competed in the pitch, though sources say WPP opted to sit the entire process out due to its relatively limited value. Spokespeople for Publicis Media, IPG and GroupM declined to comment.

According to the German-language release, Daimler AG decided to consolidate its business with Omnicom as part of a plan to manage all marketing communications from its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

“We are excited to partner with Omnicom Media Group as one of the most capable partners for our worldwide media operations,” read a translated statement from Natanael Sijanta, head of marketing communications for Mercedes-Benz Cars. He went on to call Daimler “one of the largest advertising companies in the world.”

Parties close to the review also suggested that Daimler looks to move most of its budget into digital.

“Our goal is to be the global, digital champion in automotive marketing, to fundamentally reorganize the processes and decision-making principles in marketing and to address customers worldwide with personalized content and relevant content,” Sijanta said. “In order to achieve this, we have already built up a global network of experts: our three creative hubs for Europe, USA and China very successfully produce creative and brand-defining communication content.”

He went on to mention Emil, the regionally focused Publicis Groupe entity formed in February following what chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun called “the biggest pitch” of his tenure to date.

That review also ended Daimler AG’s decade-plus relationship with BBDO, making today’s news an even more important win for Omnicom.

“In addition to the local adaptation of the global and regional Mercedes-Benz campaigns in around 40 markets, the focus of the collaboration [between Emil and Omnicom] is on increasing synergies for a more consistent worldwide presence of the Mercedes-Benz brand on the digital platforms as well as greater integration and continuous optimization of central functions and local digital content on all channels,” according to the statement.

Accenture Media Management oversaw the pitch, which proceeded according to the standards of the World Federation of Advertisers and the European Association of Communications Agencies, according to Daimler AG.

Early this year, Paris-based consultancy Comvergence estimated Mercedes-Benz’s annual global paid media spend at $950 million. Other estimates vary.

This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the division of work across the globe prior to the conclusion of the review.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.