LOS ANGELES -- With a flashy and well researched pitch, Mullen Advertising won American Honda's Acura account over incumbent RPA and others by promising to focus Acura's message and inject more emotion into its ads.
Mullen offered "wicked-awesome creative" and a sharp focus on what has been missing from Acura's marketing, Mike Accavitti, American Honda chief marketing officer, told Automotive News.
RPA retained the Honda brand account but is under orders to provide a more consistent message.
To win the Acura business, Mullen produced a barrage of 26 videos -- a mix of ad concepts, "brand essence" videos, campaign outlines and overviews. One was a manifesto called "It's Time to Stop Wandering," a reference to Acura's marketing inconsistency since its 1986 launch.
Alex Leikikh (LAY'-kee), Mullen's 40-year-old president, said the agency was given "a very clear message from Acura, in terms of what the designers and engineers wanted to do with the brand."
To boost the wow factor, Mullen rolled out a blockbuster diorama. The 4-by-8-foot scale model of a proposed commercial shoot, created by a Hollywood pro, had moving parts that included an automated point-of-view camera that moved among the cars to show how a commercial would be shot.
RPA handled the creative and media-buying business for both brands before the three-month agency review that started with 20 agencies. Although RPA held onto Honda account, Accavitti made clear he wants a fresh approach.
"We got good stuff from RPA," he said. "I am proud of the [Matthew Broderick] Super Bowl campaign we did. If we could make everything that impactful and awesome and cool, that would be great. But we weren't getting that."