LAST LAP: Shops Race Toward Kia Decision

What was, in some cases, months and even years of preparation paid off for the shops that last week made it into the finals for the $30-million Kia Motors North America pitch: Goldberg Moser O’Neill/S.F.; Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor/N.Y.; Kresser/Craig, Santa Monica, Calif., with Waring & LaRosa/N.Y.; and Stein Robaire Helm/L.A.
‘These four could hit the ground running the fastest, and we need people who can hit the ground running fast,’ said Kia director of marketing Dick Macedo. The selection, Macedo said, ‘had to do with staffing – who had expertise and who wouldn’t require a big learning curve.’
Kresser/Craig, which handled Daihatsu America before the automaker withdrew from the U.S., has had vp/management supervisor Terry Foutz on board for 17 months. Foutz, known as an auto pundit, previously worked at K/C when the shop handled Daihatsu and later left to work on Infiniti at now-defunct Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos. K/C also brought on board last year creative director Dan Mountain, whose prior experience includes Saturn at Hal Riney & Partners and Infiniti at HHCC.
JMCT, which has no auto experience, brought in auto expert Willie Hopkins three years ago as senior vp. Hopkins has ties to Kia evp/coo Greg Warner, who headed Hyundai when Hopkins headed that account at Backer Spielvogel Bates/L.A.
Pat Sherwood, GMO’s senior vp/group management supervisor, headed Saturn at Riney for two years. And co-principal Fred Goldberg assisted on the Nissan pitch at Chiat/Day.
Some of the SRH execs worked on Porsche and Nissan while at Chiat/Day. And SRH also handled the Southern California Acura Dealers, for which the shop won a number of creative awards.
Final presentations will be held this week. Sources said compensation may factor heavily in the final decision.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)