Decades-long Honda-RPA link hits the skids
Mike Accavitti: Going shopping
In 1986, Gerry Rubin and Larry Postaer set up an ad agency and won the Honda account, and the rest is history.
Rubin Postaer and Associates' "Art Gallery" commercial helped the Accord become America's best-selling car in 1989.
In 1992, Honda looked to reverse a sales slide for its bread-and-butter cars. RPA's focus groups discovered that some consumers were unwilling to buy Japanese cars unless they were built in America. They didn't know Honda made Accords and Civics in Ohio. Honda quickly shifted its ad focus, and sales began to soar.
But now the partnership could be history.
Neither Rubin nor Postaer has been active in the Honda account for many years, but RPA and Honda have remained cohorts -- despite the occasional rumor that the account was on shaky ground. When former Chrysler exec Mike Accavitti joined American Honda as marketing boss last year, he said that "RPA is an extension of the Honda family," and that an agency review would be, "completely unproductive and unnecessary."
That was then. Last week, American Honda threw its $700 million U.S. creative and media accounts into review for both Honda and Acura. RPA will participate in the review, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013. The review does not include multicultural advertising.
Said Accavitti last week: "In the face of a changing media landscape and a hyper-competitive marketplace, our challenge is to create dynamic marketing campaigns."