Volkswagen Group is conducting a global media agency review after putting on hold a process that originally started in 2021.
Agency holding companies including incumbent Omnicom are understood to be vying for the business.
The review originally commenced in 2021, when it was reported that the German-based automotive group was conducting a statutory review of its media arrangements, with PHD’s contract due to expire at the end of 2023.
However, in November last year, it transpired that Volkswagen had extended its contract with Omnicom’s PHD until the end of 2024 and put the review on hold.
A spokesperson for the group told Campaign UK that “the media world is in a state of upheaval; the group and brands are currently testing more data-driven media models”.
They added that as a result of such testing it was “defining the future operating model for the group and the brands, after which we will select the right potential partners”; and that the process would take place in the second quarter of 2023.
That process is now under way and involves all the group’s brands. It is understood it is being overseen by Jason Lusty, head of group marketing at the company’s German HQ.
While it is unclear whether PHD is involved in the review it is likely given Omnicom’s historical relationship with the automotive giant. Volkswagen also works with Bartle Bogle Hegarty London on its commercial vehicle account, which the Publicis Groupe-owned agency won in 2019.
PHD was appointed in 2016 – taking over the account in 2017 – clinching Volkswagen Group’s then-estimated $3bn business.
It was understood at the time that Volkswagen wanted a greater emphasis on digital and programmatic from PHD.
Before appointing PHD in 2016, Volkswagen Group had used WPP’s MediaCom since 1998. PHD already had a relationship with the automotive firm, handling its luxury brands Bentley and Porsche globally and Seat in the UK.