DDB is one of the top two or three agencies in Germany by both billings and by creative awards. Germany was in fact the site of DDB's very first European office in 1962, a move inspired by the capture of Volkswagen's US advertising account three years earlier. (The relationship with VW has continued more or less continuously ever since). Over the following decades, DDB gradually expanded its presence in the country, not least through the acquisition of local agency Wensauer & Partner in 1989 to form what was then Wensauer DDB Needham. There are now outposts in Berlin, Duesseldorf, Hamburg and VW's home town of Wolfsburg. For several years, the main agency operated side by side with digital unit Tribal. In 2010, though, the two businesses were merged to form a single fully integrated agency under the name DDB Tribal Group. The Tribal tag was phased out in 2014. Also operating under the DDB Group banner is Heye in Munich, best-known as the custodian for more than 40 years of McDonald's local advertising, until its shock transfer in 2014. Following the break-up of the global Rapp network, its DDB-aligned operations in Germany were rebranded as Track. Kapacht is the local group's production, retail marketing and activation unit, partnered by digital specialist Dane. In 2019, the Bonn office of Kapacht was separated out as a dedicated production unit for key client Deutsche Telekom under the name 480 Hz. Also that year, Voltage Worldwide was established within DDB's Berlin office as the dedicated agency in Europe for VW. All the DDB group agencies operate under the umbrella of corporate parent entity Lemon Group Services. Local group CEO Thomas Funk jumped ship in 2016 (to join Havas) and was not immediately replaced. In 2020 former Lufthansa marketing chief Alexander Schaublitz will join DDB Germany as group CEO. Dennis May is chief creative officer. For the time being, each agency now has its own separate management team, reporting to DDB Germany COO Oliver Janik and Europe CEO Pietro Tramontin. See also DDB Worldwide.
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Who are the competitors of DDB Germany? see Leading Agency Rankings in Germany
Capsule checked 22nd January 2020
Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
Adbrands Social Media 28th Feb 2019: "Dabei: Be There". It took not one but two agencies to deliver the new domestic branding campaign for German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom - ultimate owners, as our US readers probably already realise, of the T-Mobile brand. House agencies DDB and Serviceplan worked together on the campaign to ensure that it's really not one you could possibly overlook. 'Dabei' literally means "there", but in the sense of "Be There" - or as this campaign entreats - "Let's All Be There Together". In a world where most telecoms companies tend to go for greater subtlety, this In Your Face approach certainly makes you sit up and pay attention.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Feb 2016: DDB Germany's woes threaten to worsen considerably if industry rumours are true that cornerstone client Deutsche Telekom is about to call a review of its advertising, handled by the agency for the past decade. This latest blow follows the sudden departure of DDB's top two executives at the beginning of the year to join Havas.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jan 2016: Proving Germany's reputation as one of Europe's most volatile advertising industries in personnel terms, the two most senior executives at the local outpost of DDB have jumped ship to take up regional roles at Havas. CEO Thomas Funk and chief creative officer Eric Schoeffler become managing director and executive creative director respectively for Havas Worldwide Europe, reporting to regional chief Chris Hirst.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Mar 2015: There was further turbulence in Germany's auto advertising sector. Two more members of DDB's global Volkswagen team have stepped down, following on from the departure of global ECD Jeremy Craigen a fortnight ago. Now Jason Lusty, global business director for the VW account, is crossing the tracks to become head of marketing for Volkswagen Group's Audi business in Germany. DDB Berlin creative director Matthias Schmidt has also resigned. His destination is undisclosed but speculation within the trade is that it could be the independent agency being assembled by Andre Kemper and former DDB Germany boss Tonio Kroeger. This week they revealed the name of their new shop as Antoni, combining their respective names. The business will take over advertising for Mercedes-Benz this summer, despite the fact that co-founder Kemper is still under contract to produce advertising for rival Opel through a separate self-titled unit, Andre, which operates through Scholz & Friends. Adding further controversy to an already highly charged situation, Kemper and Kroeger have raided several other agencies to staff their business. One such recruit is Sven Doerrenbaecher, previously CEO of BMW's local agency Interone. Antoni launched its website this week with a quote from Nietzsche: "One must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star," the latter no doubt a reference to the famous Mercedes logo. Kemper, certainly, is no stranger to a bit of chaos.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Oct 2014: McDonald's has put an end to a 43-year relationship with German agency Heye & Partner. Following a review, the fast-feeder appointed has Leo Burnett and indie Thjnk to handle the account jointly under the banner "Leo's Thjnk Tank". The account loss creates a significant cloud over Heye & Partner, which is affiliated to the DDB network. It had shared the business with the local office of TBWA, which also leaves the roster (though the TBWA network continues to handle McDonald's in France and other countries). Leo Burnett already works for McD in several other key regional markets, most notably the UK. The change prompts further speculation that the restaurant giant might be preparing to drop its long-running "I'm Loving It" slogan, which was originally created by Heye.
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