Conflict Concerns Spur FCB’s Hyundai Exit

LOS ANGELES—Foote, Cone & Belding’s exit from the creative portion of Hyundai Motor America’s review came at the behest of the agency’s parent company, the Interpublic Group, according to FCB Southern California president Jim Harrington. “This was a decision made by Interpublic, and we will abide by that decision,” Harrington explained. Sources said IPG officials were concerned that the Korean carmaker would pose a conflict with General Motors, whose accounts are divided among several IPG shops. An IPG representative declined comment. Still remaining in the pitch for the $160 million account are the incumbent, Bates USA West in Irvine, Calif.; Publicis in the West, Seattle; Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and The Richards Group, Dallas. Finalists are expected to meet with the Fountain Valley, Calif., client this week for a work session. Presentations will be held in mid-April, with a decision by the end of April.

Bates Cuts Staff Following Hyundai Media Loss

LOS ANGELES—Bates USA West has laid off 14 staffers, nearly 10 percent of its 170-person Irvine, Calif., staff, confirmed agency president and CEO Tim Hart. The majority of those cuts were in the media department. The layoffs follow the loss of Hyundai Motor America’s national media planning and buying account. That business was consolidated with Kia Motor America’s media account and awarded to Carat in New York. Bates is currently defending the creative portion of the $160 million Hyundai account.

Four Inducted Into Advertising Hall of Fame

NEW YORK—The American Advertising Federation inducted four industry veterans into the Advertising Hall of Fame at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria last Tuesday. The honorees were Katharine Graham, former chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Co., who died last July; Charles Peebler Jr., chairman emeritus of Chicago’s True North Communications; Hal Riney, chairman and CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco; and John Smale, retired chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble Co. and former General Motors Corp. chairman.

Washington Mutual Launches National Ad Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO—Washington Mutual was slated to launch its first full-scale national advertising campaign during the Academy Awards. The effort, created by Sedgwick Rd. in Seattle, promotes the bank’s home-mortgage offerings. The television, print, radio and outdoor campaign comes on the heels of a 15-month acquisition spree by the Seattle-based client, making it the nation’s largest mortgage lender. Washington Mutual reported media expenditures of approximately $60 million in 2001, according to CMR. Spending for this campaign was not disclosed. The television spots were directed by industry guru Tarsem, best known in the advertising world for his work on Nike, Levi’s and “Got milk?” campaigns. Slated to run for the next two months, the effort carries the tagline, “The power of yes,” which Washington Mutual has used since 1998.