VW Hunts Shops For EC Launches

Arnold in the chase for VW accounts beyond U.S. borders

BOSTON – Arnold Worldwide, long believed to covet Volkswagen’s non-U.S. ad business, is among several shops angling for the launch of the Passat W8 and the luxury D1 automobile on Volkswagen’s home turf in Germany.

Also pitching the business are DDB Worlwide’s Berlin office, which handles the automaker’s German account, Grey Worldwide, Deusseldorf, and Hodel Schmid of Zurich, sources said. Other shops may also be involved.

Arnold is likely teaming with Rempen & Partners, Deusseldorf, its sibling under Havas Advertising.

The winner gets to devise ads to help the brands compete against BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other high-end cars.

An Arnold representative declined comment. VW could not be reached.

Ad spending in Germany through DDB is around $200 million. Spending for the W8 and D1 was not disclosed but will likely exceed $20 million, sources said.

Having been acquired late last year by Paris-based Havas, Arnold of Boston believes it has the resources to win more VW business globally – a goal Arnold leaders have made a priority for 2001 – sources said.

The shop, while handling Volkswagen of America for nearly six years, created the vaunted “Drivers wanted” campaign. A spot from that effort, “Milky Way,” featuring twentysomethings on a moonlit drive in their VW Cabrio, began running on German TV late last year.