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MERCEDES-BENZ is shaking up its advertising agencies by launching a global media review that is likely to unsettle incumbent media players who last year participated in the brand’s near-$A1 billion spend.

The parent of the car-maker, Daimler, announced this week that it had started a review – its second this year. It follows a six-month review that ended in March this year with the selection of Publicis Groupe for its global creative account.

To handle the account, Publicis created a bespoke agency, Publicis Emil. It will be headquartered in Berlin and headed by former Saatchi & Saatchi executive Justin Billingsley.

Publicis Groupe chief executive and chairman Arthur Sadoun described the pitch as the largest in the world over the past 18 months.

In an article in AdNews, he said: “It is one of the most significant wins for the group in years.

“It is living proof that the new model we have put in place to become the market leader in marketing and business transformation is actually working.

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“Publicis Emil will deliver a truly end-to-end way of working with Mercedes-Benz in 37 countries.”

The agency is named after Emil Jellinek, an Austrian entrepreneur credited as a “Daimler transformation partner”.

Mercedes-Benz spent about $950 million on global media in 2017, according to French consultancy COMvergence.

Although it is not among the top 10 car-makers by volume, it is one of the most prestigious brands in the world.

AdNews reports that Omnicom Media Group’s boutique agency Foundation handles the Mercedes media buying and planning in Australia. This contract, which Foundation won in late 2015, expires next year.

Last month, Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia launched an outdoor installation in conjunction with its partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria’s NGV Triennial exhibition.

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It consisted of a panel on the train line in Flinders Station that was created with media agency Foundation, creative agency Clemenger Melbourne and JCDecaux.

Mercedes uses different agencies for different tasks in different markets.

For example, AdNews states that Omnicom Media Group handles media for Mercedes in the US, Zenith manages the majority of international markets, and Wavemaker works on the brand in some South East Asian markets, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as the Middle East

It gets messier: Publicis will be the global creative agency in all markets except the US and China.

The Chinese market has its creative duties handled by Omnicom’s BBDO. In the US, it is done by Merkley & Partners.

By Neil Dowling

KPMG
Macquarie