Denies Review but Says Incumbent Agency Will Be Included

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DETROIT ( -- Subaru of America today confirmed it is "looking at what the market has to offer" in advertising agencies and every other aspect of its business. But a company spokeswoman denied that the automaker's $150 million advertising account was officially in review.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Temerlin McClain of Dallas, which has had the account since 1994, declined comment and referred calls to Subaru.

The spokeswoman also would not say whether Subaru has started to contact agencies. "We have a relationship with Temerlin," she said.

New marketing push
The revelation comes as Subaru is preparing a marketing effort to raise its image as more of a global player and premium brand.

When asked whether the move to evaluate other agency options was initiated by the marketer's Japanese parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, the spokeswoman said the upmarket push "is coming from Fuji, although not necessarily to change [agencies] but to evaluate and make sure we're on strategy."

Temerlin McClain will be included in the evaluation process, she added. She also said there won't necessarily be a sole global agency for Subaru.

Lance Armstrong
The latest Subaru work from Temerlin McClain, with Tour de France cycling champ Lance Armstrong, arrives in May. But consumers don't clearly link the bike champion to Subaru, executives close to the marketer said, because Mr. Armstrong is seen in ads for several other non-automotive brands.

However, the spokeswoman said Subaru plans to continue using Mr. Armstrong in its ads.