Mullen won the assignment following an ad agency review in which the Honda brand’s ad account was also in play.
According to the trade publication AdAge, this was “the most closely watched review of the past year. For one thing, it’s the biggest account the industry has seen go up for grabs in some time. Honda spent a total of $1.14 billion on US advertising in 2011.”
It has been estimated that about $200 million of that total was allocated to the Acura brand.
AdAge also wrote, “For Mullen, picking up the Acura brand is a huge opportunity to help the Interpublic shop continue its trajectory from an East Coast mainstay to a formidable national agency.”
Mullen is owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.
Previously, all of American Honda’s marketing was consolidated with a single ad agency, RPA of Southern California. But after an ad agency review, American Honda decided to split up the works into three pieces. RPA will continue to handle the creative work for the Honda brand; Mullen will be in charge of creative for Acura, a brand that competes with the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. An agency called MediaVest will do the media planning and buying chores.
“The new multi-agency structure will place American Honda at the hub of a collaborative team of agencies, with the focus on heightened creativity, greater efficiency, and long-term strategic planning,” American Honda said in a statement included in its press release.
Creating a campaign for a car brand is still considered a big deal in advertising circles because auto companies tend to run highly visible ad campaigns on network television.
Mullen created car ads in the mid 1990s for BMW, and since the late 1990s, it has done some marketing work for General Motors.
Mullen’s other big clients include JetBlue, Google, and US Cellular.
Mullen has a head count of about 650 people in the US, with 450 of them in Boston. As a result of winning the Acura assignment, Mullen plans to open an office in Southern California.
In a statement, Mullen president Alex Leikikh said: “Mullen is extremely proud to have the opportunity to represent, build, and evolve the Acura brand. Acura is rooted in outstanding product, engineering, and craftsmanship, and they have an impressive collection of luxurious, exciting products in the pipeline. The agency review process was highly collaborative and strategic and included several agencies that we hold in high regard. We’re proud to be part of the Acura family, excited to get to work on their behalf, to build our presence in the LA market, and to do amazing things together.”