Critical Mass Wins BMW Web Design Review; KBS Will Retain Lead Agency Status

The following article appeared on AdWeek’s AgencySpy on Monday, December 19th, 2016. Read the original here.

By Patrick Coffee

BMW has picked Omnicom’s Critical Mass as its lead agency for U.S. web design and development after a procurement-led review.

This means that MDC Partners’ KBS, which has been lead agency for the luxury car giant since beating out Grey, The Martin Agency and others in a 2011 review, will no longer work on that portion of the business. KBS has managed BMW’s web presence for several years and defended its account in the review.

“The recent RFP covers our web business at,” wrote a company spokesperson today. “KBS will continue as BMW of North America’s lead agency and creative partner – and as our agency of record for all above the line marketing efforts. As such, they will also work closely with Critical Mass and our other agency partners.”

BMW has held several agency reviews this year both domestically and internationally. UM retained media agency of record status in a review that ended earlier this year, and various parties confirmed today that Laundry Service won social media work in a review earlier this year. AdAge’s writeup also notes that Gale Partners, another MDC shop, also won CRM duties

KBS global CEO Guy Hayward provided the following statement:

“We are incredibly proud of the 10-years of work we’ve done on the BMW website, which has delivered increased leads every year and dozens of creative awards. We are excited for the next chapter as BMW’s creative AOR, a role in which we will continue to innovate and set the bar in the category.”

KBS declined to elaborate beyond that quote and Critical Mass has not responded to emails regarding the win.

AdAge’s coverage of the news includes a section implying that KBS may soon lose the entire account. We haven’t heard that recently, though one source stated that the agency had been handling a smaller share of the client’s social media work prior to the Laundry Service review.

The relationship between the parties has been changing, however. Last month KBS did part with two ECDs, one of whom effectively ran digital for BMW, though a spokesperson said that move was unrelated to the business. The client also brought the BMW Films team back together for October’s short starring Clive Owen, and KBS did not work on that project.