CDP has been dealt a body blow with news that Honda has put its UK
account up for review.
Both Wieden & Kennedy and The Leith Agency have already pitched for the
multimillion-pound business. CDP said it would repitch at Honda's
Neil Christie, the ex-chief operating officer of TBWA/London who quit
the agency in February this year, is helping Wieden & Kennedy with its
pitch in a freelance capacity.
The car manufacturer is Dentsu-owned CDP's flagship account. However,
Leith has steadily tightened its grip on the carmaker's European
business over the past year.
Last June, Honda appointed the Scottish agency as lead agency for its
pounds 40 million Europe South region. Two months later, Leith scooped
the pounds 30 million pan-European launch of the new Honda Civic after a
four-way pitch against CDP, Grey and Hakuhodo, a roster agency for Honda
Motor Europe North region.
Critics say CDP has failed to produce memorable advertising recently for
Honda. In July 1999, the agency produced a campaign extolling the
virtues of Swindon as the place where its cars were made. The straplines
were 'Swindon. Home of the Honda Civic' and 'Welcome to Swindon'.
However, Honda was rebuked by the Advertising Standards Authority, which
upheld a complaint that only two of the five Civic models are produced
in the UK.
Honda is currently running a high-profile campaign for the Honda Civic
in which the superior comfort and drive of her car prompts a woman to
act like a film star. The work was created by Leith.
Honda UK was not available for comment as Campaign went to press.