- Mercedes-Benz will consolidate global media, brand and performance marketing activities under a "tailor-made" agency solution from Omnicom Group Inc., per a press release.
- Team X's responsibilities will include "performance content development, media playout and success measurement" at all points along the customer journey. It is expected to launch in January 2022 and will service various business units in more than 40 worldwide markets. A long-term partnership is planned.
- To support the bespoke agency, Omnicom acquired two Mercedes-Benz partners: Berlin-based digital agency Antoni and German public relations and communications agency Oliver Schrott Kommunikation GmbH (OSK).
Omnicom's formation of a bespoke agency for Mercedes-Benz is the latest example of how agency holding groups are using their scale to build out specialized agency teams to attract brand clients. The data-driven Team X has a remit that spans the spectrum of the automaker's entire communications and marketing activities across the globe, and will be led by Mercedes-Benz vice president of communications and marketing Bettina Fetzer. Previously, Mercedes-Benz consolidated its performance marketing activities into four international hubs, representing the United States, Europe, China and overseas.
"With this decision, Mercedes-Benz is setting the next milestone in consistent customer communication on all channels — online and offline. By bringing together a new, fully integrated unit, Mercedes-Benz is re-orchestrating all of its communication content across all channels to deliver a data-driven, personalised and seamless brand experience for customers at all touchpoints worldwide," Mercedes-Benz executive Britta Seeger said in a press release.
Omnicom beat out Publicis for the combined business after previously serving as Mercedes-Benz's global media agency, according to Ad Age. The global marketing communications company also ran creative in the U.S. via Merkley & Partners and in China via BBDO. Publicis had previously operated its own bespoke offering, Berlin-based Publicis Emil, which served as the automaker's global agency network since 2018.
Omnicom posted impressive gains in its latest earnings report, with organic growth of 24.4% in Q2. To build on and maintain the gains, its agencies are continuing to center their digital and data-driven functions to meet changing demands that have been accelerated by the pandemic. On an earnings call, chief executive John Wren said Omnicom would continue pursuing acquisitions in precision marketing and digital transformation, among other areas, which it has done with two deals that will support its work with Mercedes-Benz.
Antoni launched in 2015 with Mercedes-Benz as its founding client and now has more than 170 employees. Founders and managing directors André Kemper and Tonio Kröger will continue to serve in their current roles, chief creative officer and CEO, respectively, after the closing of the transaction, which is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022. Along with Mercedes-Benz, Antoni has worked with European brands Vodafone, bett1.de, Kärcher and Katjes. Omnicom also announced that it will acquire OSK, which will operate as a stand-alone brand within Omnicom Public Relations Group. Founded in 1993, OSK also counts Mercedes-Benz as a client, along with brands including Harman, Siemens and ZF.
While Publicis lost out on the Mercedes-Benz account, it has had recent success with its bespoke offerings. Planet Fitness recently tapped the holding company to create Team Lift to handle strategy, data and analytics, media planning and buying, creative and brand partnerships. CMO Jeremy Tucker said the brand's new agency set up will drive scale and efficiency and spur $40 million in incremental media investment.