Honda starts review of £24m media account

Honda is reviewing its £24 million media planning and buying account.

The business is currently held by Mediahead, formerly CDP Media. The agency has held the account for the past nine years.

Walker Media, Starcom Motive, Naked Communications and Mediahead have all been invited to pitch for the business over the next fortnight.

The media review is being run from Honda's Slough headquarters by the head of marketing, Stephen Hollings. The media review follows a change in Honda's creative agency arrangements last year, which saw Honda appoint Wieden & Kennedy. It previously used CDP and The Leith Agency.

Honda has developed a new positioning with its advertising through Wieden & Kennedy, unveiling "factory earlier this year. The central branding idea has been supplemented by advertising for its Jazz car.

The review is a blow to Mediahead, which did not face a pitch when Honda reviewed its creative account.

Honda's £24 million media spend represents a large chunk of the media agency's 2001 billings of £59.3 million. The agency, jointly owned by WPP and Dentsu, rebranded earlier this year.

Mediahead had developed a media strategy that involved Honda running three commercials simultaneously in April. The "factory spot using computer animations launched the new strapline: "The power of dreams."

The launch of the Jazz was supported by three 30-second commercials that question the way people drive and asked them to reassess their attitudes to be less anti-social.

In addition to a large television spend, Honda has invested heavily in press advertising to communicate the "power of dreams positioning.

Earlier this year, Honda appointed Hicklin Slade & Partners to develop below-the-line activity.

Its brief was to reverse declines in sales at Honda by building closer contacts with its customers.

Honda's European sales were down 16 per cent in 2001. New UK car sales of Honda models were down 7 per cent to 63,459, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

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