Volkswagen of America, Inc. has announced that it has appointed Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its new advertising agency of record for the U.S. and Canada. In this role, CP+B will have full responsibility for the marketing of all products effective December 5, 2005. CP+B replaces Arnold Worldwide, which held the VW account for ten years.

Crispin Porter is known for its work on BMW‘s MINI account, reported Automotive News.

Volkswagen Executive Vice President Len Hunt said, “Volkswagen needs to take bold steps to turn this business around in the U.S. and Canada. We’re reviewing all aspects of our operations and with the addition of CP+B on our team we’ll now be equipped to maximize our marketing efforts. U.S. and Canadian consumers have always had a special relationship with this brand and today they want more from it — more interesting products which we now have and more captivating communications which CP+B will help develop.”

Kerri Martin, Director of Brand Innovation at Volkswagen, explained the selection of CP+B as a desire to shake up the communications model and positively impact all consumer touch points. “CP+B is known for their strong grasp of pop culture and their non-traditional approach to branding. They have a stellar track record of building, reviving and marketing iconic brands. CP+B excels in unconventional approaches and are one of the few ‘agencies’ out there that is truly idea centric versus ‘ad’ centric. With CP+B it’s about ideas that help transform the business. This powerful combination of talents is exactly what is called for as we revitalize and expand our consumers’ attachment with this great brand in North America.”

Ron Lawner, Arnold‘s chairman and chief creative officer, told Automotive News that he was surprised, adding: “That account meant an awful lot to this agency. It’s very traumatic.”

That new direction includes redirecting advertising dollars away from traditional TV and print toward more viral, event-driven and online advertising, Hunt told AN.

“We’ve begun to realize the world’s changed a little bit,” he said. “Today, it’s not so much about communication with people; it’s about connecting with them.”

In a statement to the press, Hunt said VW needs to take “bold steps to turn this business around in the U.S. and Canada” and is reviewing all aspects of the business. VW’s U.S. sales have struggled this year. The brand’s August U.S. sales inched up 1.6 percent compared with August 2004. U.S. sales for the first eight months of the year, however, are down 19.1 percent, compared with the year-ago period.

“With the addition of CP&B on our team, we’ll now be equipped to maximize our marketing efforts,” Hunt said.