Winning the Subaru account was a big victory for DDB's Lee Garfinkel.
Subaru awarded its contract to DDB New York.
DDB beat out Subaru's current agency, Temerlin McClain in Dallas, and several other agencies.
Subaru spent $137 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
Expanding brand image
Fred Adcock, an executive vice president at Subaru, said in a statement that the agency change is tied to Subaru's decision to expand the brand's market range.
Subaru wants to increase U.S. sales to 250,000 units annually by 2006. Last year's sales were 186,819 vehicles.
It also wants to boost prices. Subaru launched an advertising campaign this year for the redesigned Legacy and Outback that promoted the brand as well as the cars.
A seven-seat SUV, which may be called the Tribeca, debuts next year.
Subaru's choice of DDB reunites the automaker with Lee Garfinkel, the agency's chairman and chief creative officer.
Garfinkel worked as a junior copywriter on the Subaru account more than 20 years ago at another agency. Since then he has become one of the industry's highest-profile creative minds, and Subaru has moved steadily upmarket.
"Subaru of America executives were extremely keen on getting Lee Garfinkel back involved with the business even before the review began," says an agency executive familiar with the contest.
The executive says that Garfinkel's work on Mercedes-Benz attracted Subaru as it pondered the move upmarket. "That desire may have even been the instigation for the review," the executive says.
The win was a major coup for DDB, which had been without a car account since it lost Volkswagen's domestic business in 1994. Automotive accounts are prized in the industry as high-profile generators of revenue.
It also was an important victory for Garfinkel. It represents his most important new-business win since he joined DDB in late 2002 amid much fanfare and with the intent of raising the profile of the New York office.
"The creative opportunities are enormous," Garfinkel says. "It's a much different category than in the 1980s. There's a lot of very good car advertising but not a lot of great advertising."
Subaru has high hopes for the new SUV, which will be its largest vehicle. According to Subaru, the SUV will cost between $30,000 and $37,000. The prices of Subaru vehicles have climbed steadily for years, and loaded models already are hovering around $30,000.
"It's a much more advanced company than it was when I worked on it," Garfinkel says. "They've got a lot more exciting product than they've ever had, and that's a great opportunity for any agency."
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]