Mercedes Pitch Could Lead to Goodby in N.Y.

As contenders await the next phase in Mercedes-Benz of North America’s search for a new ad agency, one intriguing possibility surfaced last week: the opening of a New York office by San Francisco creative powerhouse Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
Mercedes and Goodby owner Omnicom Group, New York, have both eyed the creatively focused agency as one possible landing site for the luxury car maker’s estimated $125 million account, said sources.
Prior to the Mercedes search, Goodby’s top executives had discussed internally the creation of an official New York operation to better service current East Coast clients such as PepsiCo, Unilever and Polaroid, sources said. The chance to work with Montvale, N.J.-based Mercedes could finally put such a plan in motion.
Goodby declined to comment last week. Although the agency resigned Porsche Cars North America’s $15 million account, it still handles the estimated $90 million account of Isuzu Motors.
With the exception of a short-lived Los Angeles office, Goodby has never expanded beyond its San Francisco hometown.
At press time, the two agency holding companies that work closely with Mercedes parent DaimlerChrysler, Omnicom and True North, Chicago, had both held their initial meeting with Mercedes executives and were awaiting the next step, said sources. The car maker has said it will explore options with its two holding companies before deciding to hold a full-scale review.
TN is pushing Foote, Cone & Belding as its proposed agency to succeed incumbent Lowe & Partners/ SMS, New York, said sources, while Omnicom is offering up a variety of agency options. Both declined to comment last week.
Separately, Nissan Motor last week confirmed ongoing talks with DaimlerChrysler, which could result in the latter taking a controlling stake.