European car maker Volkswagen has unceremoniously moved its $400 million (€320; £217m) North America advertising account out of marketing services giant Havas into US independent shop Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
Havas’ Arnold Worldwide unit in Boston has handled the account for 10 years. There was no review and the agency says it was "surprised" when it took the dismissal call yesterday (Tuesday).
VW sales in the US and Canada are struggling. Says evp Len Hunt: "Volkswagen needs to take bold steps to turn this business around. With the addition of CP+B on our team we’ll be equipped to maximize our marketing efforts."
The Miami, Florida agency is renowned for its unconventional approach to marketing and worked on the successful introduction of the BMW Mini marque into the US.
The move is a blow for the French-headquartered Havas group, which has just been through a bruising takeover campaign by corporate raider Vincent Bolloré. He took on the role of chairman after acquiring a controlling stake and ousting long-time chairman/ceo Alain de Pouzilhac.
Bolloré promised stability for the group, a pledge he may not be able to honour if major clients bail out.
Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder has announced plans to lay off superfluous employees, mainly at VW's main production plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Data sourced from Financial Times Online and BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff