KIA MOTORS SELECTS ACHENBAUM BOGDA AS REVIEW CONSULTANT

Will Oversee Final Phase of Ad Agency Selection

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Kia Motors America today said Achenbaum Bogda Associates will complete its advertising agency review, which began in June, for the creative portion of its $240 million advertising account.

Achenbaum Bogda Associates, of Raleigh, N.C., succeeds AAR Partners, New York, which is handling another automaker's creative review.

"With more than 30 years of automotive

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experience we are confident that Achenbaum Bogda Associates will help us find the right creative agency with no delay to our original schedule," said Tom Smith, Kia's director for marketing communications.

Incumbent to be finalist
David and Goliath, Kia's current creative agency of record, will be a finalist in the review.

Kia dropped AAR a month after it started the review in early June, saying it decided to work with a consultant that wasn't handling another automotive review. AAR is the consultant on Subaru of America's creative pitch.

Agency executives and industry experts expressed concern last month that AAR had a conflict in handling two automotive pitches at the same time. One unnamed executive called it "unethical"; another said one of the marketers "will be playing second fiddle."

Agency questionnaire
An executive from an agency that received AAR's first-round questionnaire for Kia said he learned Kia dropped the consultant through the trade press; neither Kia nor AAR contacted his agency. The executive, who requested anonymity, added AAR's questionnaires for both Subaru and Kia "were basically the same ... just one question was changed."

AAR could not be reached for comment by deadline.

Improved sales
Last week, Kia reported record monthly sales of 27,636 units in June, 36% higher than a year ago. Through the first half of 2004, the automaker said it sold 135,901 vehicles or nearly 14% more than the same period in 2003.

Kia is based in Irvine, Calif.