It used to be that the advertising accounts would go into review only once in a great while. Ad agencies, of course, have long coveted car accounts because of the high profile they bestow on a shop that has one.
Volvo and Hyundai were already amidst reviews. Now, Porsche has joined the fray. The issue for automakers can be that some of the agencies in demand to pitch can’t reasonably be expected to pitch more than one account at a time.
Volvo is tying up Fallon Worldwide and Arnold Worldwide so far as U.S.shops go. Hyundai is tying up Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Strawberry Frog, Siltanen and Partners, plus two other shops.
Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis is the incumbent agency on Porsche. CL will defend the business. That’s refreshing. Many agencies, whose car clients initiate reviews, turn on their heels and walk off in a huff.
Porsche is said to be looking at unbundling their account. Hyundai has already done so. Hyundai has gone so far as to tell agencies that they won’t even have to worry about the huge inventory of burdensome dealer ad work, because they’ll let that go to dealer associations’ regional agencies. That allows Hyundai to look at two relatively small agencies—Strawberry Frog and Siltanen for its national work.
There is great benefit to this arrangement. By not concentrating the media buying or dealer work at one agency, car companies can draw on a much larger spectrum of creative agencies that need worry only about creating compelling content and marketing communications to engage consumers with the brand and product advertising. Agencies with 20-30 people, then, can be looked at to handle a car account instead of just the bigger shops with which car companies tend to feel more comfortable.
Having three concurrent car reviews going on would have been a problem a few years ago. In an era of “The Best Idea Wins” to solve the problem of “engaging consumers” rather than “advertising to consumers,” a lot more smaller agencies should be, and are, on the shopping lists of car companies these days.