Havas CX London has broken up one of the industry’s longest client-agency relationships after scooping the joint Volkswagen Group UK and Volkswagen Financial Services UK CRM business in a pitch which is understood to have kicked off over 15 months ago.
The move brings the curtain down on the German car group’s data-driven marketing love-in with Omnicom that can be traced back to the 1990s when the account was handled by Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray.
BHWG was bought by Omnicom in 1996 and rebranded Proximity London in 2001. Over the years the agency saw more changes than a Claudio “Tinkerman” Ranieri football team yet it retained the VW business throughout. Last year, Proximity was folded into sister Omnicom business Rapp.
Now Havas CX London, led by Havas CX Helia, will provide CRM strategy and creative design to Audi, Seat, Škoda, Cupra, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services.
With the seven brands at different stages in the establishment, maturity and delivery of existing CRM programmes, Havas CX London has been tasked with providing a bespoke and tailored service to each, working closely with VW Group’s and VW Financial Services’ existing marketing communications partner agencies.
The Havas CX network was launched in October last year and brings together 20 global agency groups and local agencies, plus additional CX specialists from across the Havas network, combining 1,200 staff. It spans 18 major Havas Villages around the world, with key hubs in London, Paris, New York and Mumbai.
The VW account will move from Rapp throughout May and June, with a three-year contract commencing from July 2021. Omnicom still has VW’s global digital marketing brief, which was retained by Tribal Worldwide in January, while DDB handles the pan-European advertising account and PHD runs media.
Volkswagen UK head of marketing Sarah Cox said: “All VW Group brands and VW Financial Services have a sharp and increasing focus on improving customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. We needed a partner which was ready and able to respond to customer expectations and to develop and embrace new technologies.
“Havas CX London – with its expertise and proven track-record – demonstrated this throughout the tender process, and we are looking forward to working together for the benefit of our brands and customers in the coming years.”
Havas CX London managing director Dominique Bergantino added: “We are so excited by the opportunity to work with such an iconic suite of brands – brands that make a tangible, meaningful difference to people’s lives every single day.
“We’re particularly proud that VW Group and VW Financial Services have entrusted us with these brands at such a crucial time for the automotive industry, and a time whereby a company’s relationships with its customers have never been more critical to success.”
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