After five years of love and Joy, GSD&M Idea City and BMW are ending their relationship. The split comes on the heels of the death this summer of BMW’s VP-marketing of North America, Jack Pitney, a longtime advocate for the shop, and just over a year since the agency won a pitch to handle global brand marketing for the automaker.
The end of the collaboration is set for December 31 when the nearly $140 million contract expires. AdAge reached out to the agency for an official comment, but an agency spokesman declined to talk about reasons for the split. It’s not clear whether the car maker was planning to renew. BMW has yet to make an official statement as well.
According to AdAge and not confirmed by other sources, said that agency insiders who were present at a meeting called this morning to share the news said staffers were told that the agency initiated the split. Reasons for the separation? “Relationships are no longer strong with the marketing team, particularly in the wake of Mr. Pitney’s death; the agency wasn’t making enough money on the account; and there wasn’t an opportunity to do the kind of work the agency had hoped to undertake”, AdAge reports.
It’s unclear how much Idea City’s portion of the account was worth in revenue, but in billings, BMW spends a significant amount. In 2009 in the U.S. alone, the automaker devoted $138 million to domestic measured media, and its on track to surpass that this year, having spent $83 million in the first six months of 2010 alone.
At the moment, no news on when and who will be the next agency handling some of BMW’s marketing. BMW currently works with agencies at an array of holding companies, including WPP’s Grey; Dotglu, an arm of MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners; and Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Universal McCann, which handles media duties.
GSD&M won national creative duties for BMW in November 2005 after a pitch Mr. Pitney called just two months after taking over marketing duties. But the big break for the agency came in 2009, when BMW awarded them an worldwide ad account despite being a U.S. shop without much global experience.
AdAge reports further: “At the time of his death, Mr. Pitney oversaw marketing and product development for the BMW brand in the U.S., but was set to assume a new job as VP for BMW’s eastern region, the car maker’s largest U.S. sales zone. He was long viewed as the leading champion at BMW for GSD&M, having been close with the agency’s staffers.”
The regretted Mr. Pitney said in an interview earlier this year for AdAge that “The [new] ‘Joy’ campaign is a global campaign, and I’m proud to say our agency, GSD&M, pitched and won the global BMW business. This is the first time that BMW has had one agency on a global level.””
Stay tuned for an official response from BMW.[Source: AdAge ]