Hyundai Puts Creative in Review

LOS ANGELES – Just days after awarding the consolidated $400 million media buying and planning account for Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America to Carat, New York, Hyundai has decided to put its creative account in review as well.

Incumbent Bates USA West, Irvine, Calif., will be invited to participate, said a Hyundai spokesperson. It is unclear whether or not Bates, which has handled media and creative since the Korean carmaker enter the U.S. market 15 years ago, will participate. Select Resources International, Los Angeles, will handle the creative search for Hyundai.

A Kia spokesperson said that they are very happy with Davidandgoliath, Los Angeles, and have no plans to review creative on that account.

When the media review began in December, creative was not included. But Dave Weber, Hyundeai vp/marketing, said “when we took media away we needed to recalibrate our relationship with Bates. Because of our unbundling strategy, while we were satisfied with Bates, we felt we should look around to see if we could get a stronger [creative] strategy.”

The decision to launch a creative search was announced to a group of more than 40 Hyundai dealers on Hyundai’s national dealer council and regional creative review boards at the National Automotive Dealers Association in New Orleans on Sunday. “For the most part, they understood the reasons for our decision,” Weber said, adding that the automaker expected to select a winner in the creative review by mid-April.

Both the media and creative reviews come on the heels of Hyundai’s best year ever in the U.S. In 2001, Hyundai sold 346,235 vehicles, an all-time record for the automaker in this country, and an increase of 42 percent over 2000 sales.