Grey London Wins Volvo Creative Pitch

Agency creating a dedicated unit to manage the business

The London office of Grey has been named the new global creative lead on Volvo after a review that began in June.

The automaker considered six agencies before narrowing its list to four shops to pitch the business, which Arnold previously handled. In the end, the competition was between Grey and Forsman & Bodenfors, a Volvo roster shop in Stockholm, Sweden, according to sources. 

To service the U.S. portion of the account, Grey will open a new office in New York. (In its winning pitch, the WPP Group shop promised to create a standalone unit for Volvo.)

The review focused on the launch of the next Volvo XC90, due to be introduced in 2014. Each finalist was asked to provide a creative proposal for that effort.

Arnold parent Havas brought in BETC London in an unsuccessful bid to keep the business. Execs at Arnold could not be reached for comment.

Beyond Grey, Volvo hired Interpublic Group’s R/GA as the company’s new global digital agency. Forsman & Bodenfors will continue to create Scandinavian ads for the Swedish brand, which is now owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

As Volvo cuts back on U.S. ad spending, China is becoming increasingly important as a growth opportunity to the brand and the automaker is said to be puting more emphasis on its marketing priorities there. Two weeks ago the Chinese government added Volvo to its procurement list and the company has sold about 48,000 cars in China this year – up 42 percent from 2012.

In a statement, Alain Visser, svp, sales, marketing and customer service at Volvo Cars said:  “The (Grey London) team has in a very short period of time shown very good understanding of our brands and our needs.”