Hitachi Joins Local-Agency Trend With Creative Shift to Gotham

Swaps McCann S.F. for N.Y.-Based Shop, Moves Media to In-state Initiative Office

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NEW YORK ( -- Hitachi America is the latest marketer deciding to leave frequent-flier miles on the table: The technology company has shifted creative duties from McCann Erickson, San Francisco, to Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling Gotham, New York.

Additionally, Hitachi moved media duties from Initiative's San Francisco outpost to its New York office. The agency is also part of Interpublic. The moves were spurred after the U.S. arm of the Japanese electronics maker moved its entire branding staff from its Bay Area offices to Tarrytown, N.Y.


"There's a lot to be said for having in-person meetings rather than doing things over the phone on in conference calls," said Lauren Garvey, senior manager of branding and corporate communications for Hitachi. She added that the marketing team won't have to deal with the three-hour time difference in doing business either.

More and more marketers are forgoing technologies such as teleconferencing and are opting to hire ad agencies right in their backyard. Earlier this summer, White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA conducted a creative agency review and stated that shops outside the New York-area need not apply.

According to Ms. Garvey, Hitachi quietly conducted a formal agency search and invited several shops to compete for the company's corporate-branding efforts. She declined to name participants.

Gotham will be responsible for crafting a corporate-branding campaign for Hitachi in the North American market. The marketer and agency declined to provide details about their forthcoming plans, but noted it will be largely made up of online and print components, and that the work will most likely break later this year.

Tokyo-based Hitachi works with different agencies around the world, among them Dentsu, which handles major assignments in the European and Asian markets. Historically, it has spent around $15 million to $20 million a year on U.S. measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The shift means yet another piece of business is leaving McCann, San Francisco, which has worked with Hitachi on brand campaigns for at least five years. The office has been struggling, as key client Microsoft yanked various accounts and handed them to agencies such as JWT and Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Robert LePlae was brought in recently to help stage a turnaround.

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