When Fletcher Martin (then Tausche Martin Lonsdorf) here was hired to handle the Southeast portion of Daewoo Motor America's U.S. advertising last year, it was considered a coup.
It was, at the very least, a $10 million account and put the agency in the prestigious automotive category.
Less than a year later, Fletcher Martin has produced just two outdoor billboards that simply carry the company's logo, and the relationship with the Korean automaker is described as being "at an impasse."
"We are not preparing or pursuing any work for the client," said agency president Andy Fletcher. He declined further comment.
The stalemate is not confined to the Southeast. The import's other regional shops--Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif., The Leap Partnership, Chicago, and Korey Kay & Partners, New York--have grown frustrated with the client's organizational problems and U.S. launch delays.
Executives at Ground Zero said last week they would take on another car account. The shop is not actively involved in an auto review, although it was an early contender in the now postponed Porsche contest.
Sources said Korey Kay is also frustrated with the roadblocks and would not be adverse to pitching another car account, including Porsche, which is said to have the agency's credentials on file.
Because of the Korean economic crisis, Daewoo has postponed its U.S. entry date, initially scheduled for this year, and suspended all marketing activities here, according to agency and client sources.
Daewoo chairman Kim Woo-Choon has said the company will use almost no advertising to launch its cars. Rather, the firm is exploring a nontraditional marketing scheme in which college students would be recruited to interest their classmates in Daewoo cars.--with Sloane Lucas and Trevor Jensen