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DDB Needham’s Berlin to Steer VW By David Kile

NEW YORK – Volkswagen of America is trying to create a new era for itself in the U.S. with new executive leadership, and the introduction of its most important new pr

Berlin, who came to the agency from Omnicom agency Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein last spring, has taken control of the U.S. portion of the VW account, according to DDB Worldwide president John Bernbach, who continues to oversee the business on a global basis, including in the U.S.
New advertising for the German car maker, which has a heavy ‘Euro’ look to it and makes less use of the ‘Fahrvergnugen’ theme than in past efforts, was overseen by Berlin. When new VW division head Tom Shaver arrived last summer, he expressed interest at that time in focusing ads more on VW’s European heritage, and said he had been screening VW’s ads done by Needham in foreign markets.
‘VW has a uniquely European personality that is even different from other Europeans, and I think we should be building off that,’ said Shaver last week.
Berlin, who is also trying to bring back some of the quirky advertising that made VW an icon in the U.S., will have to get used to his new client’s conservative ways. VW executives were noticeably bugged by the premature disclosure of a tagline for the Eurovan, ‘Still Ugly After All These Years,’ which has not yet been approved by the client, but was mentioned in a published article about Berlin last week.
Berlin’s oversight of the account also means that national creative will be done in New York, a move that follows a shift of creative and account management on the client’s Audi business from Needham’s Detroit office to the agency’s Chicago office last year. The Detroit office, which is run jointly by co-presidents Bruce Duffy and Peter Saad, will do dealer advertising and below-the-line services.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)