Shops May Pitch Kia And Subaru

AAR Partners will allow agencies to pitch both Kia and Subaru, but shops that do so will have to choose one or the other before final presentations, sources said.

Last week, Kia Motors America put its $270 million creative account in play. Subaru of America launched a review in April for its $165 million account. Both are managed by New York consultancy AAR. “It’s like having twins,” said AAR partner Lisa Colantuono. “You treat them like individuals.”

Subaru sent an RFP to about 20 shops. Responses are due June 21. AAR was meeting with Kia last week to discuss its search. Incumbents TM Advertising in Irving, Texas (Subaru), and davidandgoliath in Los Angeles (Kia) are defending.

Shops unburdened by conflict include Omnicom Group’s DDB in New York, GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Martin/Williams in Minneapolis; Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free Ginsberg and Foote Cone & Belding in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.; MDC’s Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York; WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York; Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York and Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco; Publicis-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York; and independent Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago.

“We see no conflict [with AAR handling Kia],” said a rep for Subaru in Cherry Hill, N.J. Only one-half of 1 percent of Subaru shoppers also shop Kia, the rep said. Kia, in Irvine, Calif., declined comment.

Kia is due to pick a shop in September, a few weeks after Subaru.