Northern, S.D. Honda Dealers Decide

LOS ANGELES Pickett Advertising has won the $10 million creative and media review for the Honda Dealers Assocation of northern California, according to Denny Boyle, who ran the review as committee chairman.

The San Francisco agency beat out neighboring shop Swirl in the final round of a contest that included J. Stokes & Associates, and a lone southern California contender, Open Minds, Irvine, a subsidiary of American Honda Motors lead shop RPA, Santa Monica.

“Swirl’s creative was very good,” said Boyle. “But we felt that Pickett was of the size and depth to handle our account as it grows.”

Boyle said the start of the new dealer advertising, banned by AHM since 1994, would depend upon how the factory treats the holiday sales season. “We’re coming up to our Happy Honda Days year-end event,” Boyle said. “Honda will provide taggable creative, but they are now debating whether or not we can submit creative for approval for the year-end event and be eligible for Honda supplementary [co-op] funds.”

Boyle said the first Pickett creative would appear in late November or December. “If not, expect new creative by the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Earlier in the week, MeadsDurket won the Honda Dealers of San Diego County’s $3 million creative and media account after a review, confirmed Rick Blakemore, president of the association and head of Hoehn Honda in Carlsbad, Calif., who led the process.

“We’re most excited about the idea of building not just around San Diego but around the Honda brand,” said Gary Meads, president and CEO at the independent San Diego agency.

Eight Honda dealers from San Diego County broke away from the Southern California Honda Dealers Association in order to conduct their own review, hearing presentations in mid-August.

Blakemore said finalists included three other Southern California independents: VitroRobertson, San Diego; NYCA, Encinitas; and Ground Zero, Los Angeles. The latter also pitched Honda in the Southern California review recently won by Secret Weapon Marketing, Santa Monica [Adweek Online, Sept. 18].

Blakemore said in the end it was between Ground Zero and MeadsDurket.

Meads said that much like other dealer associations, “Toyota is a major competitor for them here as elsewhere. [Toyota] has done a good job of identifying themselves with the local market. Many local opportunities are taken, so we will find creative ways to get Honda out there,” he said.

MeadsDurket also handles Pick Up Stix restaurants, the Del Mar racetrack and Union Bank of California. Meads said the shop has also held the Hoehn Motors account for more than 20 years. Its separate dealerships represent Mercedes, Porsche, Acura, Audi, Infiniti, Mazda and Honda.

This story updates an earlier item with the results of the Northern California Honda Dealers review.