Ridley Scott's RSA 'excited' about possible WPP-VW ad collab

Is the filmmaker Volkswagen's secret weapon to future campaign triumph?

Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott

WPP is in talks with Ridley Scott for potential Volkswagen work, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

It comes after speculation the legendary filmmaker helped craft the network’s VW pitch concept.

A spokesperson for Scott’s RSA Films told Campaign US: "RSA thinks it’s great WPP won the VW creative business, and is excited about the possibility of collaborating with them in the future." Adding, "there’s nothing beyond that to confirm at this time."

Sources say WPP CEO Mark Read invested upwards of half a million dollars into ad concept production in a bid to win Volkswagen. Others say it was closer to $1 million.

WPP declined to comment on both the involvement of Scott and pitch money spent.

VW representatives said: "Marketing cannot comment on that at this time."

Ridley Scott, the visionary mind behind film classics like Alien and Blade Runner, directed Apple’s iconic "1984" Super Bowl spot. He’s also behind a slew of advertising campaigns.

Scott hasn’t directed a commercial since 2003, but according to Adweek, he’s expected to direct the Hennessy spot that will air in early 2019.

As part of Volkswagen’s push to improve marketing efficiency by 2020, the automotive brand has reduced its global network from about 40 agency partners to three creative leads, including WPP in North America, Omnicom in Europe and South America and Cheil in China.

Possible, Geometry and David led WPP’s team in the pitch, with support from a few other agencies, people with knowledge of the matter told Campaign. VW had previously worked with Omnicom’s Adam & Eve/DDB and sibling shop DDB Berlin and Cheil.

The review kicked off this spring as part of CMO Jochen Sengpiehl’s long-term marketing strategy to create a series of regional agency "powerhouses."

According to a press release Monday morning, VW is aiming to keep  its marketing budget stable by 2020 at $1.7 billion (€1.5 billion).

Jürgen Stackmann, board member responsible for sales of the Volkswagen brand, said in a press release: "The brand is to be managed in a leaner, more centralized way. With the new partnerships, we will reach an unprecedented level of innovative power in marketing.

"Thanks to our more focused agency landscape and the expansion of our digital activities, we will become significantly more efficient. The far-reaching transformation of Volkswagen, which will also become evident to our customers next year with the world premiere of our ID., will fundamentally change our marketing."

The automaker intends on focusing its marketing on four areas going forward, including product, digital platforms, brand platforms and brand design.

Campaign US

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