Richards to Open in Orange County

The Richards Group has its Hyundai Motor America account teams in place and is set to open a field office in Orange County, Calif., as it prepares for the Oct. 16 launch of dealer and factory creative.

In addition to a new office in the client’s home region, the agency will open offices in Chi cago, Atlanta and New York in October after Hyundai’s dealer contracts with Cordiant Communications’ Bates USA West have terminated.

Richards has hired 10 former Bates staffers to work on dealer ads, said agency principal Dale Hruby, who heads the account management team for the dealer and factory sides of the business. The additions include Josh VanSteenbergen, who is the account supervisor of overall dealer efforts at the Orange County office.

The Irvine, Calif., office of Bates previously handled media and creative duties for the automaker. Richards won the $160 million factory account in May, and Aegis Group’s Carat in New York landed the consolidated $400 million Hyundai and Kia media business earlier this year.

Campaigns for Hyundai, based in Fountain Valley, Calif., will take an “overarching direction” and use a new tagline, both of which Dallas-based Richards pitched to Hyundai during last spring’s review, according to Hruby.

Dealer work will include TV, radio, print, outdoor and point-of-sale. Branding work will be concentrated in TV and print. Richards has been working on creative for the four regional Hyundai dealer advertising associations since April, when it pitched the factory account. “Part of the [national] assignment was to show how our brand campaign translates to the dealers,” said Hruby.