Deutsch Regains Mitsubishi’s Digital Duties

NEW YORK Mitsubishi Motors North America confirmed that it has shifted its online account back to the digital arm of its general ad agency Deutsch/LA after more than two years away at 10th Degree. The automaker is also expected to increase its interactive marketing spend significantly this year to an estimated $6 million, sources said.

The Cypress, Calif.-based car marketer also has handed the Interpublic Group shop its promotions and direct marketing responsibilities, formerly distributed among various companies. Those duties are estimated at $10 million, sources said.

A Mitsubishi representative attributed the moves to the “tremendous integration that it provides to us,” adding, “It’s a media neutral way of looking at our business.”

Deutsch’s iDeutsch, which lost Mitsubishi’s digital account in late 2001 to 10th Degree in Irvine, Calif., reunited with the automaker in January to craft the Web portion of its Super Bowl push. The client’s Big Game cliffhanger spot directed viewers to to watch the ending, which showed a Mitsubishi Galant triumphing over a Toyota Camry in a crash-avoidance test.

At the time, Mitsubishi senior vice president of marketing Ian Beavis said that Deutsch and 10th Degree were collaborating, adding, “I have no plans to change [Mitsubishi’s relationship with 10th Degree] at the moment” [Adweek, Feb. 9]. He also said to expect subsequent cliffhanger ads that drive people to the Internet.

Deutsh/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., has handled Mitsubishi’s general ad account since 1998.

The automaker spent about $265 million on U.S. measured media for the first 11 months of 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and $800,000 on online advertising, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.