It is a major coup for Omnicom Media Group’s PHD which beat WPP’s MediaCom and Interpublic’s Mediabrands to drive off with the German car maker, the world’s fifth biggest advertiser, in a global consolidation covering more than 30 countries.
Volkswagen has used MediaCom since 1998 and the WPP network looked after about 90% of its global media planning and buying, including for its top brands such as VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat in most international territories.
PHD already had a relationship with Volkswagen as it handled the upmarket brands Bentley and Porsche globally as well as Seat in the UK.
Volkswagen began its review a year ago as part of what was dubbed a Mediapalooza, as a string of big-spending advertisers put their media-buying up for pitch, and it continued with the process despite a major scandal over the rigging of diesel emissions in the US in September.
Volkswagen is thought to spend about £2 billion, or nearly $3 billion, globally on media. The win is expected to increase PHD’s billings by close to £100 million in the UK alone.
It is understood that Volkswagen wants a greater emphasis on digital and programmatic from PHD, which will take over the account from 2017.