Volkswagen may choose a new advertising agency for the two models it will launch this year.
VW's move follows the resignation of Jorg Dietzel, managing director of DDB Berlin. Dietzel was responsible for overseeing VW's $197 million advertising account in Germany.
Dietzel's departure is believed to be the result of disagreements over DDB Berlin's handling of the VW account.
VW is seeking agency proposals for the Passat W8 and the high-end D1, the upper-luxury model that will compete with the Mercedes-Benz S class.
DDB Berlin has the Volkswagen account in Germany. But VW has asked Ten Hovel Communications in Wolfsburg to approach rival agencies for the Passat W8 and D1 launch accounts.
Those agencies include: Weber Hodel Schmid in Zurich, Switzerland, which handled the European launch of DaimlerChrysler's Smart car; Grey Worldwide in Dusseldorf, Germany, which handles Skoda in many European countries; and Arnold Communications in Boston, Massachusetts, which handles VW's U.S. account.
The new cars reflect VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech's plan to move upscale with the Volkswagen brand. Dietzel's departure was a shock in Euro-pean car advertising circles. DDB opened its office in Berlin, Germany, in April with backing from Volks-wagen.
The transfer of Dietzel to Berlin from managing director of DDB China was seen as a positive move by both sides.
For VW, DDB's move to Berlin meant more personal contact. As a short-term measure, Jochen Plaecking, chairman of DDB's holdings in Germany, is helping to fill Dietzel's role.
Dietzel, 39, joined DDB's Dusseldorf office in 1993. He later transferred to BMP DDB Needham, in London, where he began coordinating the VW business.
In 1995, he helped set up the Audi Agency Network, of which DDB was a member. The network is a group of highly creative advertising agencies, based in various markets around the world. The agencies come together to work as global partners for VW-owned Audi.
Dietzel moved to Asia in 1998 as head of DDB China. In September, Dietzel told Automotive News Internation-al's sister publication Advertising Age: Berlin was 'the only place I would even consider coming back to.'