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How Omnicom won Mercedes: ‘holistic marketing’ and buying two agencies

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Mercedes-Benz’s global agency consolidation, which was won this week by Omnicom in a shoot-out against fellow incumbent Publicis Groupe, has turned out to be one of the most significant pitch results so far this year.

First, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler changed the review midway through the process, Florian Adamski, chief executive of OMD, part of Omnicom’s winning team, told Campaign.

What began as a media and digital consolidation changed at quite an advanced stage and became a full-blown integrated review, including creative and public relations, after the German luxury car-maker merged its own marketing and communications teams internally.

That was driven in part by the client’s recognition of the importance of “consistent communications” and “holistic marketing” across every consumer touchpoint, Adamski explained.

Second, when Omnicom won the closed review, it announced it had bought two German agencies – digital shop Antoni and public relations firm OSK – both of which already worked with Mercedes-Benz, employing about 400 people between them.

Buying agencies during a pitch process is unusual, Adamski conceded, but it made “perfect sense” to acquire them as Omnicom gains valuable capabilities and clients beyond Mercedes-Benz.

Omnicom will build a new agency unit, Team X, combining talent from its own agencies, including OMD for media, Merkley & Partners in the US and BBDO in China for creative, Antoni for creative in Europe, and OSK for PR.

For Publicis Groupe, losing Mercedes-Benz will have been a setback because it won the digital transformation account in 2018 and set up a bespoke agency unit, Publicis Emil, which combined different agency capabilities as part of its “Power of One” model.

In an interview from his base in New Jersey, Adamski explained how the pitch process worked, Daimler’s rationale and how the client can move beyond the automotive arena to cement its credentials as a global luxury brand.

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz’s “marketing and communications pie” is made up of three parts: media, creative and digital transformation – which includes digital infrastructure, customer relationship management (CRM), web personalisation, database management, demand-side platforms (DSPs) and data management platforms (DMPs). Total media spend is estimated at close to $900m, according to COMvergence.

The review started in around February with a focus on media (handled by........

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