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

19th.



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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