In a bid to make its media buys more efficient, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. could combine its U.S. buying with that of DaimlerChrysler AG at Omnicom Group's PHD North America.
DaimlerChrysler owns a controlling stake in Mitsubishi.
Steve Torok, head of international sales and marketing at Mitsubishi in Japan and co-chairman of its North American unit, sought to arrange a meeting last month with the Chrysler group's George Murphy, senior vice president of global brand marketing, to discuss media consolidation.
The meeting didn't take place, but Torok told Advertising Age, "We are always looking for more combined activities. We are always looking where we can get efficiencies."
He said that at this point the discussions are internal, and that any decisions would include Murphy and Finbarr O'Neill, his co-chairman at Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc.
The move would add about $250 million in billings for PHD, which already handles $1.5 billion in DaimlerChrysler media. It would come at the expense of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch agency in Los Angeles, which handles Mitsubishi media through a joint venture with Interpublic sibling Magna Global.
PHD buys U.S. media for DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep.
Ian Beavis, senior vice president of marketing at Mitsubishi Motors North America, said media consolidation "is not on the agenda" and declined to discuss the possibility of such a move.
Separately, Beavis said he has been approached by at least six agencies interested in Mitsubishi's creative account. He said their interest has been sparked by a belief the account could go into review because of recent management changes and public statements by O'Neill about changes in ad direction.
But Beavis said that there is no review and that he forwards the agencies' credentials packages to Deutsch, which has handled the creative account since 1998.