The Infiniti brand has put its global creative advertising account into review, multiple people familiar with the matter told Ad Age, an affiliate of Automotive News. The incumbent is MDC Partners-owned CPB.
Holding companies including Dentsu Aegis Network, Cheil Worldwide, WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and MDC Partners are all participating, according to one person close to the matter. IPG declined to pitch, citing conflicts as its agencies work with auto brands including Mercedes, the person said. MediaLink, which declined comment, is managing the review.
An Infiniti spokesman did not immediately provide comment.
Ad Age reached out to Dentsu, Cheil, WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and MDC. None immediately returned requests for comment. Incumbent CPB declined comment.
If Infiniti goes elsewhere, it would amount to a major loss for CPB, which has held the Infiniti account since 2014. It was briefly demoted in 2017, when Infiniti turned to MDC’s 72andSunny to handle several global vehicle launches. CPB regained its lead status in May 2018.
Infiniti spent $107 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2019, according to Kantar Media.
The agency review comes as Infiniti, along with parent Nissan Motor Co., attempts a comeback after years of disappointing sales. Infiniti’s U.S. sales tumbled 26 percent through March to 25,558 vehicles, according to the Automotive News Data Center. In 2019, Infiniti's sales plunged 21 percent, compared with a total U.S. market decline of just 1.2 percent.
"The brand is kind of damaged right now because the sales are dreadful," Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, told Automotive News earlier this month. "How do you maintain a dealer base with that? They have a tough road ahead to pull this off."