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Hyundai Shifts $30 Million Hispanic Business to LatinWorks

Plans to Hire Multicultural Manager to Coordinate Efforts

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hyundai Motor America is moving its $30 million U.S. Hispanic account to Omnicom Group-backed LatinWorks, four months after tapping Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as its national general-market creative agency.
Hyundai, which has retained LatinWorks for his Hispanic advertising account, is expected to name its first multicultural manager in about two weeks.
Hyundai, which has retained LatinWorks for his Hispanic advertising account, is expected to name its first multicultural manager in about two weeks.

The company is also hiring a multicultural manager in about two weeks who will report directly to Chris Perry, Hyundai's director-marketing communications. Mr. Perry said she will be responsible for Hispanic and Asian-American efforts. Hyundai currently doesn't do African-American advertising but will be looking at that for 2008, Mr. Perry said.

Five competitors
LatinWorks, Austin, Texas, competed against four other Hispanic agencies. They included two independent shops, Grupo Gallegos and Acento, both Los Angeles; WPP Group's Wing Latino, New York; and Omnicom's Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas. Dieste was Hyundai's Hispanic agency until the account moved a year ago to Omnicom's Del Rivero Messianu DDB, Miami. Del Rivero held the business for barely a year.

The reviews followed major management changes at the automaker. Steve Wilhite joined Hyundai in August 2006 as chief operating officer, from a Tokyo-based position as senior VP-global marketing at Nissan Motor Corp. In February, Joel Ewanick was hired as Hyundai's VP-marketing, filling a position that had been vacant since Michelle Cervantez left abruptly in October 2006. Mr. Ewanick was director-brand planning at Hyundai's general-market agency, Richards Group, Dallas, but that didn't stop Richards from losing the business when the company started a review weeks after Mr. Ewanick arrived.

As part of the February restructuring, both multicultural and the general market report to Mr. Perry, and the multicultural-manager position was added, he said.

Unusual assignment
The Hispanic review was managed without a search consultant by Mr. Perry, and involved about a dozen people, including Mr. Wilhite and Hyundai's VP-sales and purchasing executives.

For the pitch, the agencies were given an unusual assignment: They were challenged to figure out how to use product integration in a way that would ensure the brand truly stands out.

"LatinWorks came in with some creative and at the end of the day they rocked the room," Mr. Ewanick said. "It caught everyone off guard. Everyone in the room said, 'OK, that's a home run.'"

The first creative from LatinWorks will break in September, Mr. Perry said.
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