FCB picks up challenge of Volkswagen’s advertising account

FCB now has media and creative advertising account of Volkswagen.

Volkswagen New Zealand has appointed FCB to its creative advertising account after firing Colenso BBDO after a mere two years on the clock.

Three months ago rumours were rife in ad land that Volkswagen and Colenso, which last night was named the most effective advertising agency of the year, had parted ways. The rumours were initially shot down by the troubled car manufacturer but Volkswagen senior brand manager Jake Tobin later conceded the account was being reviewed.

There was talk of Assignment being in the frame (it was involved in the pitch two years ago as well) but FCB has come out on top. FCB already manages the media for the European Motor Distributors portfolio, which includes Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Skoda.

The car company says its advertising account will now become fully integrated across all marketing communications services.

Volkswagen’s move to Colenso two years ago shocked ad land bosses as the car company is globally aligned with DDB and has been since 1959.

Volkswagen spent $3.6 million on advertising for the year ended June according to Nielsen rate cards.

The account move has no doubt been exacerbated by Volkswagen’s emission tests cheating.

Volkswagen general manager Tom Ruddenklau says the appointment of FCB will play an “extremely important role in the next phase of the brand’s future.”

 “We’d like to thank Colenso BBDO for all of their work on Volkswagen with particular highlights including the work on ‘The Peoples Film’ and ‘Reduce Speed Dial’.

“From this point forward we are absolutely focused on restoring New Zealanders' trust in Volkswagen and ensuring our customers are looked after. That will remain our priority.”

University of Canterbury associate professor of marketing Ekant Veer previously told NBR a new agency would have the opportunity to turn around Volkswagen’s brand.

“[The agency] might go on to win awards for it but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can rebuild the brand. Sometimes the most creative ads don’t work that well. It’s good for the advertising company but not necessarily for the brand.”

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