DÜSSELDORF Springer & Jacoby, the long-time Mercedes-Benz advertising agency in Germany, is in talks with the Omnicom Group about selling a minority interest to the US group, according to Ilka Hein, a spokeswoman for the Hamburg-based agency.
Springer & Jacoby is Germany's ninth-largest advertising agency and the country's biggest independent. Omnicom is the holding company for BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide and TBWA Worldwide.
A spokeswoman for Omnicom said: 'We don't comment on rumors.'
Springer & Jacoby is looking for ways to work for Mercedes-Benz internationally. It recently declined to repitch for its other big international client, German flagship carrier Lufthansa.
'There are talks with Omnicom to become a minority shareholder, but we have other options for setting up a European network. Our client Mercedes-Benz wants us to be in every major capital,' Hein said. 'I doubt very much if there will be an agreement within the next four weeks.'
Omnicom-owned agency Merkley Newman Harty, which has offices in New York and Atlanta, handles the Mercedes-Benz account in North America.
Unlike British and French advertising agencies, German shops have been slow to expand outside Germany. The first to do so was Scholtz & Friends, which now has 11 offices outside Germany. The Hamburg-based agency is owned by UK-based Cordiant Communications Group.
Springer & Jacoby opened its first office outside Germany in London in April 1999.
Mercedes-Benz, part of DaimlerChrysler, has no global agency and uses 180 different advertising agencies in the markets where its cars are sold. But Springer & Jacoby is a favorite. Last July, it won the pan-European campaign to relaunch Mercedes' E-class.
German marketers rarely praise their advertising agencies and tend to treat them like just another supplier. But on February 25, DaimlerChrysler took the rare step of mailing out a press packet celebrating its 10th anniversary with Springer & Jacoby. On February 5, DaimlerChrysler invited the agency's entire Mercedes-Benz account team to Stuttgart for a celebration.
DaimlerChrysler is said to be supportive of Springer & Jacoby's effort to expand internationally, but national Mercedes-Benz offices in Europe will continue to have a say in the selection of agencies, according to sources.