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WPP Team Wins Mazda

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A team of WPP Group agencies has won North American creative duties on Mazda after a review, the client has confirmed.

Account revenue is estimated at more than $25 million. Mazda's major media spending totaled $155 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure doesn't include online spending.

Four contenders pitched the account. Sources previously identified the others as Omnicom Group's DDB in Los Angeles (with sister shop Organic), MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami and Boulder, Colo., and the incumbent, independent Doner in Southfield, Mich.

After strategic presentations last month, client executives narrowed their focus to the WPP team and the Omnicom team led by DDB, said sources. WPP is expected to create a dedicated unit to service the account.

"We undertook an agency review as a process check, to ensure our company is properly positioned for substantial growth in North America," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America, which is based in Irvine, Calif. "While each one of the agencies we interviewed had unique qualifications, WPP has the broadest set of assets that best fit Mazda's global needs. I'm extremely confident that WPP can take Mazda to the next level."

The selection represents a significant blow to Doner, which had handled lead creative duties and some spot media buying duties on the account since 1997.

National media buying duties were not in play and remain at WPP's Mindshare.

Pile + Co in Boston managed the search, which Adweek first reported in early March.

Ford Motor Co has an 11 percent stake in Mazda, down from more than 33 percent in 2008. WPP already handles the bulk of Ford's ad duties via its Team Detroit unit in Dearborn, Mich.