Mercedes-Benz Appoints Publicis as Global Agency Network and Digital Agency

Arthur Sadoun calls it 'the biggest pitch in the industry over the past 18 months'


Daimler named Publicis as its new global agency network and digital agency partner for Mercedes-Benz, following a six-month review process conducted by Daimler’s internal team and global management consultancy The Observatory International.

Arthur Sadoun announced the news today, referring to it as “the biggest pitch in the industry over the past 18 months, and one of the most significant wins [for] the Groupe in many years.”

Daimler spent around $950 million on measured media globally for the Mercedes-Benz brand in 2017, according to French consultancy COMvergence. Publicis won’t be handling the global account in its entirety, however, and will partner with Mercedes-Benz creative agencies Merkley + Partners in the U.S., antoni in Europe and BBDO China in China. It’s unclear how the assignment will impact Publicis’ existing relationships with General Motors brands Cadillac, GMC and Buick.

“But more importantly, it is the living proof that the new model we’re putting in place, to become the market leaders in marketing and business transformation, is working,” Sadoun added.

Publicis will launch a dedicated Publicis Emil agency to service the Mercedes-Benz account. In his statement, Sadoun explained the name was “inspired by one of Daimler’s original transformation partners, Emil Jellinek.

“Emil loved cars, was the distributor that helped them expand into new geographies, was always pushing Daimler and his partner Maybach to make the cars faster,” he added. “It was Emil who placed a large order for a new car with Daimler with one condition: that they be named after his daughter, Mercedes. It is in this same spirit of progress that we have adopted his name for our new agency.”

Justin Billingsley will lead the Berlin-based Publicis Emil as CEO. Billingsley, who Sadoun credited as being “integral in convincing Daimler that we could be the right partner for them in their ambitious transformation” will partner with Region Europe lead Maggie Lonergan and Region Overseas lead Claire Molyneux to build the new agency model and have the it fully operational by July 1.

“We are delighted to have found a new promising partner in Publicis for our global agency network. … Our focus of cooperation with the new agency partner is above all on the worldwide digital marketing and communication measures in order to drive forward digital transformation at Mercedes-Benz,” Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars vice president, marketing Jens Thiemer said in a statement. “Our criteria for this are clear: best digital know-how, best systems, best creativity, best consultancy, best conditions.”

Mercedes-Benz has worked with BBDO Worldwide in around 40 markets globally since 2007.

“Our huge thanks to BBDO Worldwide and in particular to Andrew Robertson and Thilo Schotte personally for 11 years of extremely successful cooperation, which has elevated international marketing at Mercedes-Benz to new heights,” Thiemer added.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.