After an ad-agency review lasting almost four months, Mazda has chosen to go with WPP Group because of the giant agency's global reach.
Mazda North American Operations announced last week it was ending its 13-year relationship with independent ad agency Doner Automotive, creator of the "Zoom-zoom" tag line, and was starting negotiations with WPP, one of the world's biggest publicly traded ad agencies and marketing holding companies.
WPP will set up a dedicated team, dubbed TeamMazda, to handle the account from an office near Mazda in Irvine, Calif., akin to WPP's TeamDetroit for Ford Motor Co., which has an 11 percent stake in Mazda Motor Corp.
It will be staffed by people from WPP's Grey, JWT, Wunderman and Mindshare agencies, said Don Romano, chief marketing officer at Mazda North American Operations and president of the brand's Canadian arm. WPP already had the bulk of media buying but adds media strategy and planning, which will be handled in Irvine, Romano said.
For the first time, Mazda is consolidating creative and media at a single agency for the United States, Canada and Mexico.
"We are trying to consolidate to get greater focus and efficiencies, more focus on brand strategy so we can't deviate so easily," Romano said. "We felt WPP had the most comprehensive look for this brand."
Cost wasn't the major driver of WPP's win, he said. Instead it was WPP's global capabilities, which Mazda can leverage as it expands.
WPP's JWT agency network has handled Mazda in Europe for more than 12 years. Doner had the United States and Canada, with Publicidad Ferrer y Asociados in Mexico City handling Mazda south of the border. The North American consolidation for WPP isn't the start of a global shift to WPP, he added. WPP doesn't handle the brand in Japan, China or Australia.