BMW to Review $80 Mil. in Regional Biz

LOS ANGELES BMW is placing its U.S. regional advertising into review with an eye toward consolidating the number of shops in its stable, according to sources. The scope and timetable of the process are undetermined, but sources said the review would likely involve only roster shops.

All told, the work is worth an estimated $80 million in annual measured media.

BMW runs its regional advertising business unlike other automakers, with four regions covered by as many agencies. Those shops — Publicis in New York, Publicis in Mid-America, Dallas, WPP Group’s Grey in San Francisco, and Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City, Austin, Texas — all compete to create work for a common pool from which each region may extract ads determined to be best by BMW marketing executives.

GSD&M also serves as lead national agency on BMW. In a policy instituted shortly after it won the national creative and media in November 2005, GSD&M is allowed to vie for regional assignments, just as its regional roster shops can compete for national work.

GSD&M officials declined comment on whether the agency would be allowed to compete in a review for the consolidated regional business, and sources were unclear on whether BMW would continue with its present system of having national and regional shops square off.

BMW and its incumbent regional shops either declined comment or could not be reached.

The Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based client spent $155 million on ads in 2007 and $45 million through April 2008, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That figure covers national brand advertising excluding dealer association ads. About half of the national spending figure was added to the regions to match dealer contributions. Grey’s West region portion alone is worth about $30 million, for example.

BMW sales were down 7 percent through May to 111,000 units, per Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.