Suzuki Selects Siltanen as Lead Agency

BOSTON American Suzuki Motor has named Siltanen & Partners, an independent agency in Marina del Rey, Calif., as its lead resource for automotive advertising.

DentsuNext in Brea, Calif., handled the assignment since 2000, stretching back to the era when the shop was known as Colby & Partners. Dentsu continues to support the client’s motorcycles and ATVs.

All told, Suzuki in recent years has spent about $120 million annually in domestic measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The automotive division receives far and away the lion’s share of that spending. Sales of late for Suzuki have been mainly flat or slightly down.

The move to Siltanen follows the client’s decision in April to hire the shop to relaunch the Grand Vitara and introduce a new truck — likely the ’09 Equator compact pickup — through a campaign in the fall.

Siltanen said its mandate now includes strategy and creative development, and also nontraditional advertising, national event campaigns and other media and promotional initiatives.

The agency has sought an automotive assignment since its launch in January 2000 based on chairman Rob Siltanen’s experience on Nissan at TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Siltanen stepped up his quest by hiring Tim Murphy as agency president two years ago. Murphy is a former group account director on Toyota at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi.