US Honda keeps RPA as main ad agency but Mullen now handles Acura

Article by Anita Panait, on March 20, 2013

RPA remains the advertising agency of record for the Honda brand following a three-month review by American Honda. Boston-based advertising agency Mullen, meanwhile, landed the job to handle the Acura brand's creative business. The move effectively modifies a 26-year relationship between RPA and Honda. RPA, formerly known as Rubin Postaer and Associates, has handled the Honda brand since it was formed in 1986.

The agency was also selected to handle the Acura brand in 1999. MediaVest has won the media-buying account for both Honda and Acura brands from RPA.

This transforms Honda's advertising and marketing relationship into a hub-and-spoke model with different suppliers for media buying and for the Honda, Acura, Hispanic and African-American campaigns. RPA and Mullen, along with 72andSunny and The Martin Agency, were the four finalists for the $850 million account. MediaVest, PHD Worldwide and Horizon Media were the finalists for the media-buying account.

The Honda brand accounts for around 70 percent of American Honda's overall marketing outlays, according to 2011 figures from Advertising Age. Mike Accavitti, American Honda's chief marketing officer, expressed confidence that their new team of agencies will create dynamic marketing campaigns that connect and engage consumers with their products and their brands, while achieving an even higher level of efficiency and effectiveness.

According to American Honda, MediaVest's function as a separate media agency is expected to result in more sophisticated targeting of its media mix, with substantial improvements in media buying efficiency. Accavitti said in a statement that the goal of the selection of new agencies was to get smarter on how the carmaker communicates. He remarked that with the same level of investment, they expect to realize more efficient and targeted media plans, which will increase the amount of money Honda spends on reaching its customers.

Topics: honda, advertising

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