Mitsubishi Motors North America is inviting agencies to pitch its nearly $200 million advertising account, according to AdAge. The incumbent shop, independent agency Traffic, is not expected to defend.
In the summer of 2008 the company shifted national creative from Omnicom Group’s BBDO West to El Segundo, Calif.-based Traffic, at the time a brand-new shop backed by Cimarron Group. The carmaker entrusted the account there largely due to the creative leadership of Tom Cordner, who’s known in auto circles for the successful launch of Lexus automobiles while he was at Team One.
For FY 2008, the company sold 119,000 vehicles in North America, a 26% fall over the previous year. In 2009, the company reported 2009 sales of 53,986, well below the estimate it earlier said it hoped to hit of 92,000.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s been a tough ride for Mitsubishi, struggling to find an agency that can deliver a brand identity home to consumers. But that may not be the problem to start with: One AdAge reader from a branding shop had a good point: “The problem for Mitsubishi is that there’s no brand identity for their cars. If I told someone I worked for Mitsubishi, and wanted to know if there was something I could sell them, they wouldn’t necessarily know what I was talking about. They could think I wanted to sell them a car, but also maybe a TV, or DVD player…some might even think I wanted to sell them a subway train, or an air conditioning system. But, if I said I worked for Lexus they would know exactly what I wanted to sell them…When people hear Mitsubishi they don’t get excited. Come up with a name and a corporate identity, as well as company philosophy that gets people excited, and they will make room in their mind for your product.”