Honda Selects Finalists in Ad Review

Four contenders emerge from field of 7

Call them the Honda Four.

A quartet of creative agencies has advanced to the final round of Honda’s advertising review. Sources identified the shops as The Martin Agency, Mullen, 72andSunny and the incumbent, RPA.

The finalists emerged from a broader pack of seven agencies that also included Havas Worldwide, Draftfcb and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, according to sources. Honda marketing executives visited all seven shops last week.

Both Honda and its luxury nameplate, Acura, are in play. Media spending across both brands totaled about $840 million in 2011 and $784 million in the first nine months of 2012, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Honda is expected to brief the remaining creative contenders next week. Final presentations are slated for next month. Roth Associates in New York is managing the process.

The automaker also is reviewing its media planning and buying business in separate but parallel pitch. RPA is the incumbent on that as well. Sources identified the other media finalists as Horizon Media, PHD and MediaVest.

The consultancy did not return calls and Honda declined to comment.