Finalists just announced
GSD&M dropped out a day after Subaru
"This thing mysteriously got re-opened real fast" after the first finalist list was announced, said an industry executive not tied to the review.
Neither Subaru nor AAR returned calls by press time.
Early in the process AAR said it had "too large a universe based on the criteria [from the marketer] we've been given." Shortly after an earlier questionnaire went out, Subaru and the New York-based consultant decided on minimum billing requirements for agencies to qualify, AAR said in June. An agency not willing to open an office near Subaru's Cherry Hill, N.J., headquarters would be disqualified in the first round, the consultant said then.
Three of the four remaining finalists are in New York: Omnicom's DDB Worldwide; WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide. Interpublic's Martin agency, Richmond, Va., is the other finalist. The incumbent, Interpublic's TM Advertising, Dallas, is no longer defending.
GSD&M is believed to be waiting to hear whether it will advance to the next round of Kia Motors America's creative review. A Kia spokesmam said a cut is expected next week.
Kia originally hired AAR as its consultant after Subaru's review was already under way. But the South Korean importer switched to Achenbaum Bogda Associates July 14.