Maja Pawinska Sims 20 Sep 2021 // 7:32PM GMT
STUTTGART — Mercedes-Benz has consolidated its global marketing communications agencies, awarding Omnicom the account after a six-month competitive pitch process.
The group has created a dedicated unit, Team X, to service the German luxury car manufacturer, which said Omnicom would now handle corporate and product PR, and “global media, brand and performance marketing activities across all phases of the customer journey” including digital and data-based media. Team X will have responsibility for Mercedes business units in more than 40 markets.
Omnicom was previously one of two networks supporting the carmaker across marketing disciplines. The group beat fellow incumbent Publicis, which had also set a specialized unit called Emil, to the global account.
The account consolidation comes after Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler, merged its communications and marketing departments under the leadership of Bettina Fetzer. Team X will mirror the brand’s internal consolidation of performance marketing activities into four international hubs in the US, Europe, China and “Overseas”. Team X will start work in January 2022 and the relationship is intended to be long term.
Fetzer said: “The creative unit with hubs in the US, Europe and Asia will take local needs into account early into the strategy and creative work, and adapt global brand presences in a regionally nuanced way. In addition, together with all regions, we want to significantly strengthen the communicative and experience-oriented proportion of brand communication. In parallel, we will work as a team on continuous brand development and the design of our style-defining appearance across touchpoints and audiences - in all regions and markets. One presence, one brand experience - one ‘Mercedes look and feel’ for all brand-defining activities worldwide - that is our goal.”
At Omnicom, chairman and CEO John Wren said: “We share the importance of this moment and feel privileged to partner with Mercedes-Benz as they transform and merge their global marketing and communication activities. Mercedes-Benz was looking for a holistic agency partner that could help deploy a sustainable and globally consistent luxury experience for the company’s brand promise around the world for the first time.
“Our newly formed ‘Team X’ delivers on that goal, creating a streamlined global structure with clear single points of contact as well as innovative data and analytics connected in every layer. We look forward to supporting Mercedes-Benz in a long-term partnership to further increase the desirability of its brand portfolio and pioneer the creation of personalized and highly effective customer communications.”
As part of the creation of Team X, Omnicom has acquired two European agencies who already worked with Mercedes-Benz: Antoni, a Berlin-based, digitally-native advertising agency and Oliver Schrott Kommunikation (OSK), a leading German public relations and communication agency.
Antoni launched in 2015 with Mercedes-Benz as its founding client, and has grown to more than 170 people working with brands such as Vodafone and Kärcher. The agency was founded by André Kemper, managing director and chief creative officer, and Tonio Kröger, managing director and CEO, who will continue to serve in their current roles.
OSK, which was set up in 1993 and has 225 people across Germany, China and the US, will now operate as a stand-alone brand within Omnicom Public Relations Group, and will continue to be led by will continue to be led by president and CEO Oliver Schrott. The agency's client portfolio includes Harman, Siemens and ZF.
Wren said: “The acquisition of OSK is part of our strategic plan to grow our capabilities in the areas where OSK excels, especially the convergence of technology, mobility and communications. We are excited to bring OSK into the group to strengthen our PR footprint in Europe and deliver new perspectives for our clients. I want to welcome Oliver and his entire team to Omnicom.”
Schrott added: "With Omnicom, we have found an ideal partner that will build on our successful past and help us get to the next level of our development. After 28 years of success as an owner-managed agency, we're eager to see how our unmatched talent combined with Omnicom's know-how and resources will accelerate our position across geographies, industries and data-driven communications."
An Omnicom spokesperson told PRovoke Media that the network had explored different partnership models with Mercedes-Benz partners including Antoni and OSK, and ultimately decided that acquisition would offer the best integrated agency model for Mercedes. Both transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.