Mitsubishi Poised to Award Creative Duties to BBDO

LOS ANGELES Mitsubishi Motors America at press time was in discussions with Omnicom’s BBDO to handle creative chores on its $200 million ad account, sources said. Late Friday, Mitsubishi director of advertising Kevin Mayer, through a company rep, said “no decision has been made” and may not be for a week. BBDO in New York and Los Angeles competed against IPG’s TM Advertising and Publicis in Seattle and Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco. The incumbent, IPG’s Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., declined to defend. Agency execs either could not be reached or declined comment.

BBDO Cuts Senior Creatives; Lubars to Hire New Crew

NEW YORK Omnicom’s BBDO has purged a senior level of veteran creative talent as part of an agency restructuring, a shop representative said. Earlier this week, at least eight creatives—including Donna Weinheim, David Johnson, Rick Hansen and Harry Woods, who have each been at the shop at least five years—parted ways with the agency, sources said. They had worked on accounts including PepsiCo, FritoLay and Gillette. Sources said North America chief creative officer David Lubars (shown), who joined the agency in September and made the changes, is expected to bring in new hires over the next few months, which a BBDO representative confirmed. Lubars was not available for comment.

ONDCP Witness, MindShare President Ray Simko Retires

LOS ANGELES Ray Simko, president of strategic planning at WPP’s MindShare in New York, has retired, an agency rep confirmed. Simko, 56, was a member of the Office of the President, a management committee that advises MindShare North America CEO Marc Goldstein. He has been with the media network since it was formed in North America in 2000. A former media director at Ogilvy New York, Simko told MindShare of his exit during the ONDCP trial of Shona Seifert and Thomas Early. Simko was a defense witness whose name was frequently mentioned during the trial, though no allegations have been made against him. Simko’s replacement has not yet been named. Neither he nor his lawyer returned calls.

Honda Breaks First Pickup Truck Campaign for Hispanics

LOS ANGELES The Hispanic campaign for American Honda Motor Co.’s premier Ridgeline pickup truck breaks tomorrow from independent La Agencia de Orci & Asociados. The 30-second spot features the truck tackling rugged terrain in Death Valley and the tagline, “Your kingdom, your throne.” Similarly themed print, radio and outdoor ads launch this week as well. The client spent about $15 million on TV spots for the Hispanic market in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, but the introduction of the pickup truck, heavily favored by the Hispanic market, will likely raise spending, the client said.

BBDO’s Hill to Replace Kronengold on Visa Account

NEW YORK Omnicom’s BBDO has appointed evp, managing director Nancy Hill to its $300 million Visa U.S. account, effective last week. Hill, who joined the New York shop in 2003 to oversee AOL and head up new business, replaces Rich Kronengold, who was moved off the account last month to concentrate on new media opportunities with OMD. Hill continues to report to president and CEO John Osborn, who said Ted Gilvar will succeed Hill on the $210 million AOL account as evp, senior account director, effective March 7. Gilvar was most recently at Havas’ McKinney + Silver in Raleigh, N.C.

See: Launches Its Last Work For Electronic Arts

LOS ANGELES The last batch of work for Electronic Arts from independent See: in San Francisco begins to break this week, as sources said independent roster shop Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore. will be officially reassigned all of the estimated $150 million global business soon. One spot features young men acting “less than macho,” said a source. They carry Chihuahuas, get facials and order girly drinks before they’re slapped back while playing boxing game Fight Night Round 2. The company will also break See: work for The Sims 2: University this week and spots for six PlayStation Portable titles at the end of March. The client confirmed the new work but declined further comment. The shops declined comment.

TBWA Introduces New Math In Nissan Xterra Campaign

NEW YORK Nissan’s Xterra is the answer to a series of math equations posited by TBWA\ Chiat\Day in Los Angeles in its campaign for the 2005 model. The effort doesn’t stray from the well-worn pitch for the SUV as a proxy for adventure. But the ads focus less on mud-puddle cliches and more on athletes, with large graphics that show math formulas like “Gravity – Fear = X” and “[3 ft. fresh powder] + ‘day off’ = X.” The three spots are set to rock music and show kayakers, surfers and snowboarders clambering around the car to don and doff gear. An Internet ad effort continues the outdoor sporting theme. Nissan spent about $35 million on Xterra ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

10 Shops Form Association Of Black-Owned Ad Agencies

CHICAGO A consortium of African American-owned advertising agencies have come together to form the Association of Black-Owned Advertising Agencies. The group, which will look out for the interests of African American-owned shops, has 10 charter members. The ABAA is similar to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, which was founded in 1996 and now has more than 70 members.

Dockers Reaches for Lifestyle Perch With Trump Tie-In

NEW YORK Dockers plans to trump the competition with an eight-page advertorial featuring contestants from NBC’s The Apprentice. The ad, created in-house by Dockers and FHM, will appear in that magazine’s April issue. Online efforts and a sweepstakes that offers a chance to meet Donald Trump will support the tie-in. An unrelated TV spot from Foote Cone & Belding in San Francisco will break in April. The effort is a first step toward repositioning Dockers as a lifestyle brand. A bigger push is due in the fall. The budget was not disclosed, but annual spending will increase by at least 10 percent, the client said. Dockers spent about $35 million in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.