Among agencies on the automaker's long list are Ammirati & Puris; Deutsch/Dworin; Dentsu; Houston Effler Hampel & Stefanides; and TBWA, all of New York; as well as a joint effort by Kresser/Craig, Santa Monica, Calif. and New York's Waring & Larosa.
Director of marketing and advertising Mark Dunn is soliciting reels and is expected to meet with agency heads during the last week of this month and early October. A Subaru spokesman said the company wants to have an agency on board before Christmas because of the Impreza coupe launch in early spring.
The review indicates Subaru's parent company Fuji Heavy Industries is not ready to fold its tent in the U.S. It also rebuts speculation following the sacking of Wieden & Kennedy/Philadelphia at the end of July that struggling Subaru would park the business at Dentsu America rather than hold a formal review. Dentsu had been discussing sales promotion projects with the client before Wieden was put on notice. Forgoing a review, said auto executives, would have been a signal that the company was on borrowed time in the U.S.
One hitch in the proceedings is that Subaru has not yet hired a vp/marketing. And though Dunn is handling the marketing duties along with an interim marketing head, the company is known to be recruiting candidates from the outside. The Subaru spokesman said the company will have a marketing chief in place by Nov. 1
Following a top management shake-up in which sales and marketing head Chuck Worrell took early retirement, giving way to George Muller who became president, Subaru announced last month that it was ending its relationship with Wieden after two rocky years. While with Wiedenm Subaru's sales and market share fell as the company tried to expand from niche marketer to mass marketer.
Agencies with dealer association experience may have a leg up, sources indicated, because of the aggressive retail position Subaru will be taking to move its bloated inventory of unsold cars.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)