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Mitsubishi Re-Evaluates

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SRI Will Conduct Assessment Of All Marketing

NEW YORK--Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America has tapped Select Resources International to conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation of its estimated $300 million advertising and marketing budget as well as review all of its agency vendors.
The evaluation by the Los Angeles consultancy comes on the heels of an internal memo from chief operating officer Pierre Gagnon which said results have been "disappointing" and the company needs to improve its sales, customer satisfaction and quality levels.
Peg Dilworth-Hunt, director of marketing communications for the Cypress, Calif.-based car maker, said the study is designed to "look at the whole marketing picture."
Fallout from the study, said sources, could include one or more new agency searches in the below-the-line marketing area, where Mitsubishi currently spends about $80 million.
The assessment could spell an opportunity for lead agency Deutsch to pick up more business and strengthen its grip on the $140 million factory account, which has still not been finalized, said sources. Deutsch, Marina del Rey, Calif., already has the $80 million dealer ad account and the $65 million Galant launch assignment.
Mitsubishi sees an advantage in integrating its marketing communications into Deutsch's new "Wake up and drive" campaign, said Dilworth-Hunt. "Our problem in the past is we had six or seven different partners sending out six or seven different messages," she noted.
She also downplayed the possibility of a review for the factory account, joking that Mitsubishi and Deutsch were "in love."
The Cypress, Calif.-based client's other shops include CKS Partners in Portland, Ore., which handles interactive marketing; Direct Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., which handles direct marketing; The Designory in Santa Monica, which handles collateral ads; and Valdes Zacky Associates in Los Angeles, which handles Hispanic marketing.
Executives at those shops did not return calls by press time. --with Teresa Buyikian and Angela Dawson