Mitsubishi hires new ad agency from Hollywood

LOS ANGELES -- Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. has named Traffic its new ad agency of record. Traffic, based in Hollywood, Calif., replaces BBDO West, which was awarded the account in March 2005.

Traffic is a small startup agency with no auto creative under its belt, but it is co-chaired by Tom Cordner. Corder was co-president of JWT Detroit and worked on the Ford account. He also served on the Lexus account at Team One in Los Angeles.

“The creative of all the finalists was remarkable,” Dan Kuhnert, Mitsubishi’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. “They all demonstrated insight into the Mitsubishi brand and had great ideas,” he said.

“However, Traffic presents a keen understanding of how to leverage the strengths of our brand and the importance of now, which is extremely relevant in today’s auto industry.”

Mitsubishi, which spent about $150 million on measured media last year, is struggling for a share of voice in the competitive U.S. market. Its sales dropped 19.1 percent to 46,389 units through May 31. One of its dealers’ chief complaints is that the company does not spend enough money on marketing and advertising.

Traffic faced off against three other West Coast shops: Omnicom Group’s DDB, Los Angeles, and two other non-network shops, Ignited and WongDoody, Los Angeles, executives familiar with the matter told Advertising Age.

The review was launched in March during the final few weeks of the automaker’s contract with Omnicom’s BBDO West, Los Angeles, which won the account three years ago. BBDO did not try to defend the business.

The search, overseen by California-based consultancy Select Resources International, affected only the U.S.

BBDO’s Toronto office will continue to handle marketing duties in Canada. Mitsubishi Motors America’s media agency, Omnicom’s PHD, Los Angeles, was not impacted by the review.

Rupal Parekh and Jean Halliday of Advertising Age contributed to this report

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