Cox Automotive Sends $126 Million US Media Account to Hearts & Science

The OMG shop will work across the Autotrader and Kelly Blue Book brands

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Cox Automotive has appointed Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science as U.S. media agency of record, tasking the agency with handling all media buying and planning for its Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book brands.

The appointment follows a review launched last December that included incumbents MDC’s Assembly and Dentsu Aegis Network’s 360i, according to a Cox Automotive representative, who said the review was handled internally and included around a dozen agencies. Assembly had previously handled media responsibilities for brand marketing for Cox Automotive, while 360i handled performance marketing.

“In today’s shifting and complex market, it became increasingly evident we needed a unified approach with a focus on data to reach all audiences, and the best agency to provide that is Hearts & Science,” Greta Crowley, vp, marketing for Autotrader & Kelley Blue Book said in a statement. “After considering some extremely talented agencies, bringing in Hearts & Science gives us the best combination of talent to help us as we continue to evolve our marketing and advertising programs.”

Cox Automotive spent nearly $126 million across its brands last year and around $34 million in the first five months of 2020, down approximately $20 million over that period in 2019, according to Kantar Media.

The appointment comes on the heels of another recent win for Hearts & Science. This week, Reckitt Benckiser awarded its nutrition division to Hearts & Science, which includes leading infant formula brand Enfamil, following a review that mostly saw Publicis Groupe Zenith retain the Reckitt Benckiser media account. Last month also saw Omnicom Media Group appointed as global media agency of record for software giant SAP via a dedicated North Star unit comprising resources across multiple media agencies within Omnicom Media Group.

Autotrader tapped 72andSunny New York to handle creative last year, and its first work for Autotrader debuted last September, taking a humorous approach to showcasing its user-friendly platform.


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.