Daewoo Motor Co.
Budget: $10 million (per region)
Decision Date: Undisclosed
Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd., the No. 3 automaker in South Korea, plans this fall to enter North America with a midsize sedan called the Leganza.
Initially, Daewoo chairman Kim Woo-Choong's ambitious plans called for selling 100,000 units in North America during the first year. However, after winnowing the number of models it would sell here from three to one, those sales projections have been substantially lowered. The company has established four regional U.S. offices, each with separate marketing and distribution operations. Those offices are in Los Angeles; Atlanta; Ridgefield, N.J.; and Arlington Heights, Ill. Daewoo is believed to be considering a dual distribution system, selling cars through mass merchandisers as well as factory-owned outlets, most likely located in college towns. Daewoo also plans to loan cars to selected consumers for weeklong test drives as it has done in other countries. By soliciting applications for these tests, the client intends to build a database of prospective customers. The $18,000 Leganza is expected to compete with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and the Ford Taurus. Should the initial launch be successful, Daewoo plans to introduce more models, from subcompacts to sports cars to minivans. In its home market, Daewoo ranks third behind Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.
The car maker is in various stages of four separate regional agency reviews, with the Western search nearing completion and the Midwest hunt just kicking off. Ground Zero is said to be the front-runner for the Western group's estimated $10 million account. Gary Connelly, formerly a zone manager with American Honda's Acura division, is Daewoo's director of operations for the Western region. Other key members of the review committee include marketing executive Won Kim and Il Ling New, a San Francisco-based consultant who is also assisting in the Southeast review. Winners of each region will likely compete for the chance to create national image advertising. Some contenders have complained that disorganization at the client has led to review delays. Industry observers, meanwhile, question whether the market can support another Korean import. Those skeptics also have doubts that Daewoo will devote enough money on marketing to be competitive.
Eisner & Associates, Baltimore
This agency could tout its mix of retail and association clients as experience that would be helpful in servicing dealers around the region. Also, the $110 million shop worked for American Automobile Manufacturers Association whose members included Chrysler, General Motors and Ford.
Korey Kay & Partners, New York
The $64 million shop grabbed the company's attention by suggesting Daewoo launch a car into orbit. While the agency admits it was a far-out proposal it also said it is feasible should the client be interested. Separately, the agency previously handled the Eastern Tri-State dealer account for Honda.
Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York
Kirshenbaum executives have taken Korean culture/communication classes and produced bilingual business cards and other material in their attempts to impress the client. In lieu of car experience, the $200 million shop, the largest contender, flaunted its Northeast assignments from retailer Target.
Pedone & Partners, New York
This $85 million agency took a straightforward approach in landing a slot in Daewoo's review. In contacting the client, the shop highlighted creative director John Russo's background on the Audi account and its experience with regional retail businesses.
Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif.
Butler is a $32 million agency with a big creative reputation in need of a big win. Creative directors John Butler and Mike Shine could tout their experience on the Isuzu account during their days at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and president Greg Stern's familiarity with Asian companies from working in Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif.
This $40 million creative boutique has assisted the company from the get-go. Award-winning work for SegaSoft, Porsche, ESPN2 and Yamaha WaveRunners has earned the agency national attention. Creative principals have Porsche experience.
Jackhammer's repositioning of A.M. General Corp.'s Hummer vehicle gives it credibility in the category. Presentation included minority marketing proposals. The shop, a spinoff of The Richards Group, addressed its lack of a West Coast presence by offering to open an office in Los Angeles.
The Mandala Agency, Bend, Ore.
If personal connections are the deciding factor in this review, Mandala has a leg up. Agency president Brian Bowler is a former president and chief executive officer of Porsche Cars North America. A former colleague now heads Daewoo's research and development and introduced him to the company's chairman. Agency then submitted credentials, which include a Mitsubishi dealer group account.
Wiley & Associates, Westlake Village, Calif.
Darkhorse. The $5 million ad and design firm specializes in marketing to women. Persistence got president Caryn Wiley-Rapoport in the review as a late entrant. Photographs of the all-female staff and details about their relationship with their cars were submitted with credentials.
Austin Kelley Advertising, Atlanta
Like its competitors, Austin Kelley has no direct automotive experience other than a car dealership or two. However, the $76 million shop's regional work for clients like Midas, Pizza Hut and MediaOne demonstrates a knack for building brands in a retail environment.
Tausche Martin Lonsdorf, Atlanta
This $35 million agency has a reputation in its home market for having a strong creative department, but has little to show for it to date in terms of account wins. The agency got new leadership in late 1995 when Andy Fletcher was brought in as president.
This is the first big test for the $182 million shop formed last year when Atlanta-based Tucker Wayne/Luckie & Co. merged with WestGroup, Tampa, Fla. Tucker Wayne built its reputation with dependable, if ordinary, work for clients like BellSouth. WestGroup brings an edgier creative approach.
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