Richards Is Ready for Hyundai

The Richards Group has its Hyundai account teams in place as it prepares for the Oct. 16 launches of dealer and factory creative.

The campaigns will take an “overarching direction” and incorporate a new tagline, both of which the Dallas shop pitched to Hyundai Mot-or America during its review, according to principal Dale Hruby, who heads the account management team for the dealer and factory sides of the business.

Dealer work will include television, radio, print, outdoor and point-of-sale. Brand work for the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based client will be concentrated in TV and print.

Richards has been working on creative for the four regional Hyun-dai Motor America Dealer Advertising Associations since April, when it pitched the factory account. “Part of the [national] assignment was to show how our brand campaign translates to the dealers,” said Hruby. The $200 million dealer ac-count became Richards’ largest when the shop acquired it last month.

Hyundai’s dealer ad-vertising is led by creative group heads Mike Malone, David Jenkins and Kevin Swisher. The triad reports to founder Stan Richards. Malone and Jenkins are responsible for factory creative as well. There is no other overlap between the creative teams of the two accounts, Hruby said. All advertising will be conceived in the Dallas office of the independent shop.

Richards has hired Steve Cannon, a former automotive consultant, as national account director for the dealer business. Cannon reports to Hruby and has 21 staffers working in Dallas and the four new of-fices in Orange County, Calif., Chicago, Atlanta and New York.

Those regional locations do not open until Oct. 1, after Hyundai’s dealer contracts with Cordiant Communications’ Bates USA West have terminated. The Irvine, Calif., agency previously handled media and creative duties for the automaker. Richards won the $160 million factory account in May, and Aegis Group’s Carat in New York landed the consolidated $400 million Hyun-dai and Kia media business earlier this year.

While day-to-day duties for the dealers do not start until October, Richards has been working under an interim agreement to prepare for the campaign launch date.

The shop has hired 10 former Bates staffers to work on dealer ads, according to Hruby. The additions include Josh VanSteenbergen, who is the account supervisor of overall dealer efforts at the Orange County office.