BDDH has scooped the creative task on Mercedes-Benz UK’s pounds 9
million advertising account, bringing to an end the most hotly contested
pitch of recent months.
The agency saw off competition from BST-BDDP, Simons Palmer Clemmow
Johnson, Barker and Ralston and Buckfield Lord for the business.
The UK account came up for grabs last October when the incumbent, Leo
Burnett, was forced to resign it due to a conflict with the rival car
maker, Fiat. Burnetts will continue to plan and buy media for Mercedes
in the UK.
The decision to appoint BDDH was confirmed in a statement issued by
Mercedes late on Wednesday.
The coup plugs a three-year-old gap at the agency, which lost Honda to
Collett Dickenson Pearce in 1994.
Leslie Butterfield, the chairman of BDDH, was close to the Honda account
and is expected to take a major role in overseeing Mercedes. BDDH’s
joint creative directors, Simon Green and John Dean, also have extensive
car advertising experience through their work as a team on BMW at WCRS,
and on Mazda at Addition.
After a four-month search, the appointment came just one day after the
final presentations were made at Mercedes’ UK headquarters in Milton
Keynes on Tuesday.
Mercedes used the Advertising Agency Register and a consultant, Pierce
Brunt, to select the five finalists, who visited Mercedes’ headquarters
in Germany as part of the pitch process. The final presentations focused
on the manufacturer’s C and S class models, as well as on the brand’s
appeal to women.
Nigel Long, the managing director of BDDH, said of his agency’s task:
’It’s about making the brand accessible at the same time as retaining
its aspirational appeal.’
Mercedes has recently tackled the higher volume car markets. It began
with its 190 small executive saloon, and will continue next year with a
four-seater car, the A class.
The move attracted the attention of Fiat, a client held by Leo Burnett
in countries outside the UK. Fiat argued Mercedes’ change in tack, and
the tendency of manufacturers to market vehicles on an international
basis, meant it was becoming a conflict within the Burnett network.