CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF - The irresistible rise of Arnold Volkswagen’s US agency is raising its own profile just as high, Mairi Clark writes.
By MAIRI CLARK, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 24 July 1998 12:00AM
Arnold Communications, the Boston-based agency that handles Volkswagen in the US, is following in the footsteps of Wieden & Kennedy and Fallon McElligott and setting up shop in the UK (Campaign, last week). However, the agency, which scooped the press and poster Grand Prix for its VW Beetle campaign at this year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival, has a much lower profile this side of the pond than its compatriots.
Arnold Communications, the Boston-based agency that handles
Volkswagen in the US, is following in the footsteps of Wieden & Kennedy
and Fallon McElligott and setting up shop in the UK (Campaign, last
week). However, the agency, which scooped the press and poster Grand
Prix for its VW Beetle campaign at this year’s Cannes International
Advertising Festival, has a much lower profile this side of the pond
than its compatriots.
In the US, however, the agency has been causing something of a stir,
particularly with its campaigns for Volkswagen which it won from DDB in
1995. Arnold’s managing partner and chief creative officer, Ron Lawner,
devised the slogan, ’VW. Drivers wanted’, and in 1997 the agency created
its ’Sunday afternoon’ ad, remembered by Americans as the ’da da da’
spot after the catchy tune it used. The ad merited Advertising Age’s
Best TV Spot of 1997 award.
This year, its print work, featuring the re-designed Beetle, won the
agency the Cannes Grand Prix.
Arnold is also the second largest McDonald’s agency in the US and does
work for Fleet Bank, Century 21 Real Estate, the Hartford insurance
company and Ocean Spray. When it acquired Houston Herstek Favat this
year, it inherited the clothing company, Converse, and the Massachusetts
Department of Health.
The agency puts its success down to a philosophy called ’brand essence’
which, it claims, gets straight to the heart of a brand. While some may
pass off the ’philosophy’ as basic marketing, there has to be some
substance to it if the agency’s success is anything to go by. In the
past five years, Arnold has risen from 135th largest agency in the US to
Furthermore, its billings have shot from dollars 57 million in 1991 to
dollars 860 million in 1998. If that wasn’t enough, a successful bid
earlier this year by Snyder Communications, a group of below-the-line
database and medical advertising companies, saw Arnold Communications
being sold for dollars 120 million. It was this deal that enabled the
agency to consider a UK office.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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