BBDO Group Germany has traditionally been the country's biggest marketing group, almost twice as big by revenues as its nearest competitor, and the network's biggest international outpost. It has dominated the local marketing industry for well over two decades. The main BBDO advertising agency has offices in Duesseldorf and Berlin (and until its closure in 2019 in Hamburg as well) and is supported by a circle of specialist satellites. For several years, BBDO and its direct/digital arm Proximity were merged as a single integrated entity, renamed BBDO Proximity. They were separated once more in 2014 although they still work closely together. Other subsidiaries include digital agency InterOne, PR giant Ketchum Pleon, consultancy Batten & Co, design agency Peter Schmidt and production unit Craftwork. However, the single biggest contributor to revenues was until recently the outsourcing and telemarketing agency Sellbytel, owned by BBDO since 1994 and accounting for as much as half of group revenues. Omnicom agreed to sell that business in 2018 to French rival Webhelp. As a result, combined revenues fell by around 50% in 2019 to €278m (from over €550m in 2017). That cost BBDO its long-held position as the country's biggest marketing group. The group had been led since 2010 by CEO Frank Lotze and CCO Wolfgang Schneider. Both men abruptly announced their departure in Feb 2019, to be replaced by Marianne Heiss (previously CFO) and Till Diestel respectively. Lotze and Schneider later launched a lawsuit against BBDO and Marianne Heiss. As holders of small equity positions in the group they claimed they did not receive full remuneration from the sale of Sellbytel, which was negotiated mainly by Heiss when she was CFO, and they attempted unsuccessfully to demand her dismissal. BBDO entered Germany for the first time in 1972 with the acquisition of local agency Team advertising, founded in 1956. It became Germany's biggest agency for the first time in 1991.
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Capsule checked 6th March 2020
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Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Jan 2020: "Worries". Electric cars are great but they do have some limitations... Daimler recently transferred a 50% stake in its Smart city car business to Chinese manufacturer Geely. Now, BBDO Deutschland's new campaign for Smart offers a cautionary tale aimed at the world's more foolish drivers. It's an interesting angle from what will soon be a manufacturer specialising only in electric vehicles. Something like: "You'll love our cars, but don't expect miracles". Electricity doesn't grow on trees, after all.
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