Pyro Is Set to Defend Hummer

Teams With Richards in Review Being Steered by General Motors
DALLAS–Hummer, the all-terrain vehicle on steroids that was a hit with U.S. consumers following the Gulf War, is looking for an agency to launch a smaller, more street-friendly version of the Humvee in 2002.
The agency review is being conducted by General Motors, which last year acquired exclusive ownership of the Hummer brand name and the right to retail the vehicle. The Hummer is manufactured in England by AM General, which delivered the first civilian version to the market in 1992.
Dallas-based Pyro Brand Management, which has held the account since 1994, hopes to defend. The smaller shop is teaming with The Richards Group, also Dallas, for the pitch.
“Our history is with AM General. GM told us upfront they wanted to look at other options,” said Pyro principal John Beitter. “We’re going to use the full resources of Richards, [combined with] Pyro’s heritage with the brand.”
Marc Hernandez, Hummer brand manager at GM, is overseeing the review process.
GM last week sent letters to eight agencies notifying them of their inclusion in the semifinals, Hernandez said. The agencies are dispersed across the country and include a mix of both GM roster and nonroster shops. Credential presentations will take place Aug. 3-8 in Detroit, followed by a cut to finalists. Those agencies will be given strategic and creative assignments. A decision is expected in late September or early October.
Hummer’s media planning will be handled by the new GM Planworks, managed as a part of Starcom MediaVest Group. Media buying will be the responsibility of GM Mediaworks, an Interpublic Group of Companies unit.
Some highly creative shops that were initially cut for lack of media capabilities may be allowed back in the review under the new structure, Hernandez hinted. “I really want to see some out-of-the-box thinking,” he said.
The increased media budget of the Hummer (from $711,000 in 1999) is expected to support the national launch of H2, a vehicle which made its debut at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January.
The new H2 is less boxy than the original Humvee, uses fewer exposed rivets and has a power-operated, canvas convertible top. The H2 also comes in a sporty shade of bright yellow instead of military green, with tinted windows. K