Mitsubishi has selected Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) as its new advertising agency of record, concluding a review launched in May.
180LA, incumbent on the account since 2010, did not participate in the review.
According to sources close to the situation, Mitsubishi had pitted 180LA against Los Angeles agency Omelet on unspecified project assignments in an attempt to pressure 180LA into working for lower rates prior to parting ways with the agency. At the time of the review, one source attributed disputes over fees as the cause for the split between Mitsubishi and 180LA, while others claimed it was not a mutual decision.
Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners also recently ended a long client relationship. Back in March, BSSP resigned from the Mini account, for which it had served as U.S. agency of record since 2005, ahead of a procurement-mandated review.
“BSSP is a proven market disrupter and fits with Mitsubishi’s plans to challenge the industry status quo. They have strategic expertise in the industry that we feel will help us build on the momentum we’ve established the past couple of years,” Mitsubishi Motors North America senior director, marketing Francine Harsini said in a statement. “Throughout the review process, BSSP demonstrated great knowledge, creative vision and a deep passion for our brand. We will look to BSSP to develop creative work that will resonate with our consumers and help us stand apart in the marketplace.”
“At every step of the pitch process we felt like we clicked—great collaboration, and the chemistry was quite good. Mitsubishi makes a great product with tremendous potential,” added BSSP partner and CCO John Butler. “Our team is thrilled to put our deep experience in automotive to work for them.”
BSSP will be tasked with driving the creative process on integrated, strategic advertising and marketing campaigns for the client, which plans to unveil two new vehicles next year, including a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Back in April of 2016, Mitsubishi executives admitted the company had overestimated the fuel efficiency of some 625,000 vehicles, which contributed to a $1.6 billion loss for the 2016 fiscal year, but did not seem to have much of an impact on U.S. sales.
Mitsubishi Motors North America reported sales are up five percent for the 2017 calendar year.
According to Kantar Media, Mitsubishi spent around $95 million on measured marketing in the U.S. last year, up from $82 million in 2015.