NEW YORK-Mazda Motor of America has decided to launch a full-scale review to find an agency to replace 27-year incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding.
The Japanese car maker, now controlled by Ford Motor Co., has conspicuously omitted some agencies from its preliminary list.
Despite speculation that Mazda would either reassign its $250 million account to one of Ford’s global agencies or hold an internal review among Ford shops, sources said only Ogilvy & Mather, which has the least U.S. business of the three global Ford shops and handles Ford’s Jaguar unit and its corporate advertising, will be invited to pitch. Currently, J. Walter Thompson, which handles the Ford division, and Young & Rubicam, which has Lincoln-Mercury in the U.S., are not on the list, said sources.
A four-person review committee consisting of Richard Beattie, the new chief executive officer of Mazda, senior vice president and general manager George McCabe, director of marketing Ron Neale and David Ropes, director of corporate advertising at Ford, will meet this week to finalize the contenders list, said sources. Mazda wants to finish its search by the beginning of 1998.
Beattie “wants to show that this is still a separate company-not ‘Forzda,'” said one source. “This is going to be a Mazda review, not a Ford handoff.”
The agencies that Mazda could contact, said sources, are: Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore.; Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco; Deutsch and Think New Ideas in both New York and Los Angeles; GSD&M in Austin, Texas; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston; and Carmichael Lynch and Martin/Williams in Minneapolis.
Other contenders could include Cliff Freeman and Partners and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York; W.B. Doner & Co. in Southfield, Mich.; Kovel Kresser & Partners in Santa Monica, Calif.; and The Pearlstein Group in Los Angeles, said sources.
Executives at FCB’s Santa Ana, Calif., office have shelved an idea to pursue the account by spinning off the office as a separate entity, said sources. The Orange County operation could be folded into FCB’s Los Angeles office, said managing director Welton Mansfield.
-with Tanya Gazdik
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