Hummer, the all-terrain vehicle on steroids that was a hit with U.S. consumers following the Gulf War, is looking for an agency to launch a smaller, more street-friendly version of the Humvee in 2002.
The agency review is being conducted by General Motors, which last year acquired exclusive ownership of the Hummer brand name and the right to retail the vehicle. The Hummer is made in England by AM General, which delivered the first civilian version in 1992.
Dallas-based Pyro Brand Management, which has held the account since 1994, hopes to defend. It is teaming with The Richards Group, also Dallas, for the pitch.
"Our history is with AM General. GM told us upfront they wanted to look at other options," said Pyro principal John Beitter. "We're going to use the full resources of Richards, [combined with] Pyro's heritage with the brand."
Marc Hernandez, Hummer brand manager at GM, is overseeing the review for the $20 million launch.
GM last week sent letters to eight agencies notifying them of their inclusion in the semifinals, Hernandez said. The agencies are dispersed across the country and include both GM roster and nonroster shops. Credential presentations will take place Aug. 3-8 in Detroit, followed by a cut to finalists. Those agencies will be given strategic and creative assignments. A decision is expected in late September or early October.
Hummer's media planning will be handled by the new GM Planworks, managed as a part of Starcom
MediaVest Group. Media buying will be the responsibility of GM Mediaworks, an Interpublic Group of Companies unit.
The new H2 model is less boxy than the original Humvee, uses fewer exposed rivets and has a power-operated, canvas convertible top. It also comes in a sporty shade of bright yellow instead of military green, with tinted windows.