BMW Shops Vie For $70 Mil. In Media

Dealer Business Consolidated at Publicis as Fallon Breaks Bond Ads
NEW YORK–BMW is holding a review among its roster agencies for its estimated $70 million media buying and planning account, sources said.
BMW’s lead creative agency, Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, incumbent DeWitt Media here and Publicis/Bloom, which handles dealer ads, are the contenders, sources said.
DeWitt won BMW’s broadcast and magazine planning and buying chores in 1993. Newspaper Services of America, Naperville, Ill., handles newspaper planning and buying. An NSA representative said he is not aware of a review for this portion of the account. (NSA is owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.)
The client confirmed it was “reviewing some of our agency relationships.” Fallon declined comment.
Separately, sources said BMW is planning to consolidate its dealership ad accounts at Publicis, which already handles the East and Southern accounts. Combined, the business is worth some $45 million in billings. Incumbents McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown in Chicago and Mendelsohn/Zien Advertising in Los Angeles will lose their shares of the business, sources said. Publicis could not be reached.
Last month, Publicis broke a national factory TV spot touting the new six cylinder 323is. The client said the project was given to the agency because Fallon was busy developing BMW ads for the new James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies. That campaign breaks today.
One of three TV spots shows 007 (Pierce Brosnan) and new Bond girl Michelle Yeoh on a BMW R 1200 motorcycle in a chase scene. A voiceover admonishes the pair for dangerous driving. As the couple drives the bike off a rooftop, the narrator adds, “Uh I wouldn’t do that.” Another spot shows a lazy parking lot attendant in a security booth. The man remains oblivious as, on surveillance screens, Mercedes-driving thugs try to blow up Bond and his BMW. The campaign retains the tag, “The ultimate driving machine.”
The leader in the luxury car market, BMW sales jumped 14.7 percent from October 1996 to October 1997. –with Aaron Baar