BMW Eyes 5 for Media

NEW YORK BMW has identified five agencies to compete in the final round of its media review, the client has confirmed.

The finalists are: Aegis Group’s Carat, Interpublic’s Universal McCann, independent shops Horizon Media and Targetcast:TCM, and the incumbent, Omnicom’s GSD&M Idea City. (GSD&M also handles national creative duties, which are not currently in play.)

The scope of the assignment up for grabs also includes some dealer group work that brings total annual billings to nearly $200 million, per sources.

The Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based client spent $155 million on ads in 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The client said it was conducting a media review in September, and last month it confirmed hiring AuditStar, a London-based consultancy, to guide that process.

Manuel Reyes of AuditStar partner Cortex Consulting Group in Ocala, Fla., is overseeing the competition in the U.S.

The carmaker expects to complete the media review process by the end of January 2009.

Earlier this year, the client’s U.S. regional advertising assignment, worth about $80 million, was put in play with an eye toward consolidating the work at a single shop. Publicis’ offices in Dallas and New York, pitching separately, and WPP’s Grey in San Francisco are contending.

The media and regional BMW reviews come amid one of the sharpest downturns the auto sector has experienced in recent memory. BMW sales, though down, are significantly better than the industry average. In October, BMW’s performance was off about 14 percent, compared to a 32 percent plunge for the overall industry, according to