Yamaha Race Begins

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–Yamaha’s water vehicles division, which markets the WaveRunner recreational vehicle, is about to contact Southern California shops about handling the creative portion of its estimated $1-3 million account.

The search, led by Jeff Horton, advertising manager for the division, comes after round Zero resigned the business last week.

The review does not involve media planning and buying duties, which will still be handled by Marshall Design Associates in Newport Beach, Calif. Marshall also handles Yamaha motorcycle advertising.

Ground Zero resigned the account over ‘strategic differences’ with the client, said Jim Smith, the agency’s managing partner. The Santa Monica, Calif., shop has handled the creative portion of the account for two years. During that time, combined creative and media billings dropped from about $5 million to about $1 million last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Yamaha expects to boost advertising activity in the future, according to Horton. ‘We’re looking for a small agency that’s retail-oriented,’ Horton said. He described the parting with Ground Zero as amicable. Shops that meet the criteria will be invited to present their materials, with a winner to be selected within the next two months, Horton said.

Marshall is not likely to be considered for creative duties for the watersports division, Horton said. ‘They have their hands full with motorcycles. We need our own agency.’

The advertising account previously was handled by Hoffman, York & Compton in Milwaukee.

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