BBDO is preparing to put a new network in place to service Daimler-Chrysler's dollars 2.4 billion global business after pulling off the biggest account win in the history of advertising.
BBDO chiefs are deciding this week when and where new offices will be established in order to safeguard their existing car business, including Volvo's pounds 20 million UK account, which is held by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
The plan is to roll out BBDO's US-based PentaMark operation, formed two years ago to handle the group's share of the Daimler-Chrysler account.
A question mark still hangs over the Daimler-Chrysler media business, currently handled by DCMS, a True North/CIA joint venture; CIA is the active partner and the co-ordinator and implementor of the account. Insiders suggest that there is support for keeping the DCMS operation intact, although True North is likely to withdraw from the venture.
It would be difficult for BBDO's media operation, OMD, to take on the Daimler-Chrysler business because of local conflicts and because of the Nissan European account, which is handled through MGM OMD. However, it is possible that PentaMark could build its media credentials to take on the Daimler-Chrysler media account globally.
Although BBDO will not take over the Jeep, Dodge and corporate assignments held by the True North-owned FCB Worldwide for six months, arrangements to roll out PentaMark will proceed 'at a pace', according to a BBDO source.
BBDO has 34 separate car assignments for 16 different brands. Volvo said it had been aware of the pitch but had been assured that AMV would have no direct involvement with the Daimler-Chrysler business.
Meanwhile, True North was this week having to come to terms with the devastating loss. The business accounts for around 9 per cent of its revenue and an estimated 25 per cent of its profits.
The group conceded that lay-offs would be inevitable, although it was hoping to move some staff on to other accounts.
It intends keeping the Daimler-Chrysler team at FCB in Detroit together in the hope of capturing a new automotive account - 'There are some rumblings,' a True North executive said. However, industry sources question whether this will be possible unless a replacement account is captured quickly.
The loss has revived speculation that True North is now a takeover target. Havas and Cordiant are cited as possible bidders.
Publicis, which failed in a hostile bid for True North two years ago, has ruled itself out of the race.
Stuart Elliott in America, p37
Conflicting car brands within the BBDO network
5 General Motors
7 Mercedes Benz
This article was first published on Campaign