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Volkswagen Going To Next Round With Ad Agencies

German automaker Volkswagen is going to the next round of creative presentations, according to industry executives, with DDB, Deutsch, Goodby Silverstein and Partners, and Wieden & Kennedy.

The automaker put its $200 million-$250 million ad account in review last month. Crispin Porter + Bogusky had handled the business since 2005, and declined to defend the business.

VW eliminated The Martin Agency, Richmond (Geico and Walmart), and possibly one other agency from the original field.

Deutsch has been handling Saturn advertising, but doesn?? figure to continue with the business being taken over by Penske Automotive from General Motors. The agency also did work for GM during its bankruptcy proceeding that was well received.

Goodby is fresh off doing Hyundai advertising, which was taken in-house. And it handled Saturn before that, and before Deutsch.

Wieden & Kennedy, best known for Nike, hasn?? handled car advertising in the U.S. since the late 1980s when it handled Subaru. But it does brilliant work for Honda in the U.K.

Crispin, meantime, got right back on the horse and is pitching Chrysler and Dodge advertising for the Detroit automaker.

DDB handles VW in most of the rest of the world, and is widely considered a favorite to win the account. But it aint over til it?? over. And the best ideas still have a chance to win. There is, in fact, a line of thinking emerging, according to some familiar with the thinking of Volkswagen of America CEO Stefan Jacoby and marketing chief Tim Ellis, that they are looking for an agency to blow DDB away in the review so that they can have their own agency for North America.

VW is, in fact, embarking on a product plan that will create more differentiation between the products they sell in the U.S. and that which they sell in Europe. VW?? goal is to sell 800,000 vehicles a year in North America by 2018, and to do that the vehicles have to be more suited to American tastes and sensibilities than is currently the case. The marketing, the thinking goes, will also have to be perhaps less quirky than it has been in the recent past.

Crispin has been featuring iconic old VW models like Beetle and Microbus to draw attention to new, lesser known models like Tiguan, Passat and Jetta. In a series of ads, a 1964 Beetle was made to talk in a German accent. Now, that was quirky.

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