Volvo in European agency shake-up

- Volvo is consolidating its $200 million European media account into MindShare and has begun a major international search for a new European lead creative agency.

- Volvo is consolidating its $200 million European media account into MindShare and has begun a major international search for a new European lead creative agency.

The Swedish car brand, which was acquired by Ford last year, decided to consolidate its media into MindShare, Ford's agency of record, after holding media pitches against local incumbents in 17 separate markets. New PHD handles media on the £20 million UK account.

At the same time, Peter Rask, Volvo's chief of network communications in Sweden, has begun talks with a number of agency networks about finding a new agency to drive creative for all future pan-European car launches. The last launch, the V70, was handled by the Gothenburg-based Forsman & Bodenfors, which resigned the international account last month.

It is unclear what effect the move will have on the UK creative account, which Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has held for 22 years. However, sources close to the negotiations said that Rask was seeing "several" major networks before Easter, all of which had indicated they would be prepared to resign their existing car accounts to take the business. Rask was unavailable to comment as Campaign went to press.

Meanwhile, European sources said Volvo first signalled its intention to appoint MindShare to its entire European account six weeks ago, but was still working through the details. It is a ground-breaking move for the car brand, which traditionally has used a variety of both creative and media agencies around the region.

However, Volvo has seen rapid changes since its acquisition by Ford last year. Two senior marketing figures, both Swedish, have quit the company and new blood has arrived in the form of Dieter Laxy, Volvo's head of marketing and business development, and Matthias Kunst, its director of brand strategy.

The new faces have meant a reduction in Swedish influence in Volvo's international marketing circles and more influence from both Denmark and Germany.

Volvo's lead agency in the US is Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG. Forsman & Bodenfors still handles Volvo's advertising in its home market.



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