Volkswagen Picks PHD to Handle Its $3 Billion Global Media Account

Omnicom wins the year-long 'Mediapalooza' review

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German auto giant Volkswagen picked Omnicom's PHD as its new global media agency of record, ending its relationship with WPP's MediaCom after nearly two decades. The news marks PHD's biggest win to date, and the move also ranks among the largest media consolidations in any industry.

PHD won the $3 billion account in a pitch that ends a yearlong series of reviews colloquially known as "Mediapalooza." It will now handle strategy and media buying duties for VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which are part of the larger Volkswagen business around the world.

The agency has a pre-existing relationship with the VW organization: In 2010, it beat out MediaCom as well as Starcom MediaVest Group and MPG (Now Havas) to win global media duties for Porsche before VW completed its acquisition of the luxury brand in 2012.

MediaCom had handled the vast majority of the VW business since 1998. As recently as 2014, the client expanded and extended its relationship with WPP by signing that shop to a three-year contract that would have lasted until 2017.

Moving forward, Omnicom will handle the U.S. portion of the business via a unit dedicated to VW. The network had previously managed the Porsche account in the same manner.

VW announced its pending media review in May 2015, several months before the diesel cheating scandal went public and shook its businesses around the world. The pitch itself was led by a London-based team working under worldwide CEO Mike Cooper, and the process lasted an entire year.

This decision closes out an extended winning streak for Omnicom Media. PHD recently added Carnival and Delta to its client list, and Omnicom launched a new media unit called Hearts & Science after beating out Publicis in the global P&G media review.

On the creative side, VW currently continues to work with Deutsch in the U.S. and adam&eveDDB in the U.K.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.