MITSUBISHI SHIFTS MEDIA BUYING TO PHD

$250 Million Account Was With Deutsch

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Mitsubishi Motors North America is preparing to move its $250 million U.S. media buying account to Omnicom Group's PHD North America

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from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, according to an executive close to the situation.

Neither PHD nor Deutsch executives returned calls by press time.

Efficiency reasons
As first reported by Advertising Age Jan. 12, the financially troubled automaker was considering the move for efficiency reasons. PHD North America already handles all DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group and Mercedes-Benz USA media buys, which total some $1.5 billion annually.

DaimlerChrysler owns a controlling stake in Mitsubishi. Other Omnicom agencies handle media buys for Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler outside the U.S.

'Looking at it for ages'
Ian Beavis, senior vice president for marketing at Mitsubishi, said, "We've been looking at it for ages, but we've not made a final decision."

Steve Torok, who was Mitsubishi Motor Corp.'s executive vice president for international sales and marketing in Japan and co-chairman of its North American unit until he resigned April 2, initiated the talks earlier this year.

Mr. Torok, now an executive vice president at Chrysler Group handling strategy, said he had no additional information about Mitsubishi's media buying plans because he left the automaker three weeks ago.

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Alice Z. Cuneo contributed to this report.

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