The reel Goldberg Moser O’Neill presented to the members of the review committee for Kia of North America had Korean subtitles. The agency’s co-principal Fred Goldberg lived with a pri" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

Seoul men By Daniel S. Levin

The reel Goldberg Moser O’Neill presented to the members of the review committee for Kia of North America had Korean subtitles. The agency’s co-principal Fred Goldberg lived with a pri

Like some of the other contenders in the review, GMO courted Kia for more than a year before the contest actually got under way. But while the shop received a questionnaire, the agency initially failed to make Kia’s short list. It was only after two other agencies dropped out and close friends of Kia marketing vp Dick Macedo lobbied on the shop’s behalf that GMO was invited into the pitch.
From there on in, Goldberg figured it was up to him and his team and, determined to leave no stone unturned, he picked up the Korean etiquette books. “You don’t want to be combative,” said Goldberg, a former New Yorker, of the lessons he learned studying the ways of the shop’s newest client, which includes several representatives of Kia’s home office in Seoul, South Korea. “They tend to be a little more tame than I might have been if it was an American client,” Goldberg said.
Because of the language barrier, GMO focused on making its presentation as visual as possible, incorporating images wherever it could.
But another strong point of distinction for the firm, which competed against Kresser/Craig, Santa Monica, Calif., and Waring & LaRosa/N.Y., which pitched jointly; and Stein Robaire Helm/L.A. in addition to JMCT in the finals, proved to be the large body of work it has done for start-up companies and initial product launches analogous to Kia’s own situation. Most recently that includes GMO’s advertising for Reno Air and extends all the way back to when the shop was a division of Chiat/Day and some of the executives helped launched Apple.
No speculative creative work was included in the review. Instead, contenders were given a strategic assignment relating to how they would position the company in a U.S. car market crowded with 38 nameplates and more than 1,000 models. Details of the strategic presentation were not disclosed, but GMO concluded its final presentation with a 15-minute video that showed how the firm approached strategic problems similar to the ones Kia will face in introducing its product.
When all of the presentations were completed, Macedo told the four other members of the selection committee to rank the finalists as a prelude to beginning any discussions. But none was necessary. GMO was at the top of each list.
Even so, there was a two-week gap before GMO was named Kia’s agency. Macedo, who recently joined Kia from Wells Rich Greene BDDP/L.A., continued negotiating details of compensation agreements with each agency under consideration.
“Having been in the business, I learned a valuable lesson that you never select an agency before you negotiate a fee,” he said.
Macedo said all of the contenders were rated on a comprehensive list of categories, with the firm’s history of creative work given more than twice the weight of any other consideration.
GMO, which had to withdraw from the Porsche review earlier this year when a heated competitive battle in the computer market forced the shop to devote all its attention to its Dell client, closed shop early Friday to celebrate the win with a yacht ride around San Francisco Bay. Kia, which is second only in billings to Dell, brings the agency’s billings to $130 million, according to Goldberg.
GMO expects to expand its current 100-person staff by 10-15% because of the additional work.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)