CDP on alert as Honda reviews its UK account

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

request.



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.



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