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Mitsubishi Hispanic Goes to Grupo Gallegos

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NEW YORK Mitsubishi Motors North America has appointed Grupo Gallegos to handle the Hispanic portion of its advertising account with a three-month pilot project.

The first assignment, which will break in Miami next week with newspaper, online and radio ads, consists of a campaign for the automaker's small sport utility vehicle, the Outlander, and the Galant, its midsize sedan.

"This is a learning phase for Mitsubishi in the Hispanic marketplace," said Montse Barrena, Mitsubishi's account director at Grupo Gallegos, Long Beach, Calif. In addition to producing the creative, the agency is conducting the media buying.

Mitsubishi had begun searching for a Hispanic advertising agency as early as last summer. Its $200 million general-market account is still under review, guided by consultants at Santa Monica, Calif.-based Select Resources International. There are currently four finalists (BBDO, New York; Pubicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; Publicis, Seattle; and TM Advertising, Irving, Texas), and a decision is scheduled to be made March 1. Kevin Mayer, director of advertising, is in charge of the agency search.

Last year, the automaker was plagued with several changes in management. Diane Hong, former director of advertising, resigned in December; CEO Finbarr O'Neill departed to join Reynolds and Reynolds, an automotive consulting firm, and in January was replaced by former manufacturing chief and COO Rich Gilligan. The company still needs to replace former senior vice president of marketing, Ian Beavis, who resigned in November.