Honda casts wide net in ad agency review
The list of ad agencies American Honda Motor Co. is considering after putting its media and creative accounts up for grabs last month includes everything from West Coast hot shops to large global agency networks.
The company declined to comment on the contenders but vowed to have a decision on its review by the end of the first quarter.
By putting the accounts up for review, American Honda ensured one of the biggest ad agency pitches of 2013.
What wasn't clear then, though, is just how far the company is willing to step out of its comfort zone in its search for marketing partners.
Honda is talking to ad agencies big and small and with varied geographical scope.
According to several industry executives, creative shops competing include two MDC Partners' shops, 72andSunny and CP+B; and two Interpublic agencies, DraftFCB and the Martin Agency. In addition, incumbent RPA, which had worked on both creative and U.S. media buying and planning, is still in the running, people familiar with the pitch say.
RPA took on the Honda brand business when it opened its doors in 1986; in 1999 Honda consolidated its Acura media and creative business there as well.
The agencies have car credentials. CP+B for years worked on the BMW Mini and on Volkswagen, and the Martin Agency in the past has worked on more luxury brands such as Saab and Maserati.
Media agencies competing include independent Horizon, Publicis Groupe's MediaVest and Omnicom's PHD.
Another reason for the varied shops in the mix could be the potential for more than a single winner for creative and media -- tier-one and tier-two work is also up for grabs, which means there is the possibility of multiple winners at the conclusion of the pitch -- and the possibility of RPA hanging onto a piece of the business.
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