Bates Shuffles Creative Duties On Hyundai

LOS ANGELES-Bates USA has reorganized the creative oversight of its estimated $90 million Hyundai Motor America account.
Bates USA creative director Michael Robertson has been overseeing creative out of the agency’s New York headquarters since last month’s departure of Richard Butt, who had been creative director at the Irvine, Calif., office. Terms of Butt’s departure were unclear. Director of client services Tony Taylor also exited the Southern California office last month.
Neither Butt nor Taylor could be reached. Calls to Irvine were referred to New York, where an agency representative said there has been “a restructuring of a number of responsibilities and positions in Irvine.”
Tim Hart, president and chief executive officer of Bates USA West, continues to run the Hyundai account, working closely with Robertson, the agency representative said. Creative work is being produced in New York and Irvine, she added.
Calls to the Fountain Valley, Calif., client were not returned at press time.
No details were available as to why the Hyundai creative supervision was moved to New York.
“We thought this was the best way to handle the business,” said the Bates representative, refusing further comment.
Butt was replaced by senior vice presidents Carmen Dorr and Mike Anderson, who have assumed co-creative director titles. Dorr has been with Bates for over four years, having previously worked for Foote, Cone & Belding, Santa Ana, Calif., and Grey Advertising, Minneapolis. Anderson, another FCB alumnus, has been at Bates for three years.
Taylor was not replaced.
Hyundai plans to boost ad spending this year at least 15 percent above last year’s $79 million, said vice president of marketing Dave Webber [Brandweek, April 26]. Media outlays topped $107 million in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Hyundai sales were up 13 percent in the first quarter of 1999, according to Ward’s Automotive Reports.