Omnicom, WPP and IPG Are Headed to Germany for Final Volkswagen Pitch

By Patrick Coffee 

So, now that we have a somewhat clearer idea about the Ford review, a question follows: what’s going on with that other big global auto pitch?

You’ll recall that VW’s new CMO Jochen Sengpiehl announced the review back in April (to the surprise of his U.S. employees).

At the time, he said his team would “build an agency powerhouse for each region” including Europe, North America, South America and China in order to “be prepared for the future.”

All holding groups were reportedly invited to pitch.

Contrary to some rumors that have been floating around the agency world, we can confirm that the client has not come to a decision. It has, however, decided on the three finalists: WPP, IPG and Omnicom.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the review said the three teams will be traveling to Germany next week for the last round of the pitch. The decision is expected to come down in October or early November at the very latest.

While it’s not clear which WPP agencies are leading the process, incumbents Deutsch (North America) and DDB (Europe, Canada, China) are reportedly playing lead on their end. We are told, however, that several other shops will be involved in what is truly a team effort for both Omnicom and IPG.

And despite some talk of consolidation, we’re also told the client does indeed want to create a series of regional units, one of which could handle both North and South America. Earlier this year, Sengpiehl told AdAge that he wants the winners to serve as a single “hub” and that they won’t necessarily be restricted to their own regions.

Whichever combination of agencies wins, they will be left with a smaller piece of the pie even as VW looks to grow its global market share. As Sengpiehl said in the original report by Germany publication HorizonT, “We spent too much money on paid media in the past, and we want to change that.” Specifically, he wants fewer TV spots and more digital content.

In short, this one is still in play though DDB has had the account since 1959.

Spokespeople for WPP and IPG declined to comment. DDB has not responded to a related email.

Volkswagen PR referred us to the corporate team in Germany, and we will update this post if/when we receive a response.

[Pic via Getty Images]