Daewoo, a South Korean car importer, has turned to minority shop Pancom International, Los Angeles, for the project, even though it has four regional agencies on its roster.
Pancom specializes in Asian-American marketing.
Pancom's ad was a project and "not a signal they are our long-term agency," said Bill Tucker, VP-marketing at Daewoo.
"We're trying to set up a network of [student] advisers to start prospecting at the start of the next college year," he said.
FREE TRIP OFFERED
With a headline of "Opportunity honks," Daewoo's college ad offers a free trip to South Korea and potential commissions on cars sold via its 14-owned stores in nine states. Students will learn about Daewoo, its products and South Korean culture in their summer trip.
When asked about the fate of the four regional shops, Mr. Tucker said they are still in place and "to my knowledge, no decision has been made on a national agency."
But he added Pancom could be in the running if Daewoo decides to pick a national shop.
Leap Partnership, Chicago, tapped for Daewoo's expected $10 million in advertising for the central U.S., last fall said it had been picked to develop the marketer's national brand platform and strategy. That was never confirmed by Daewoo.
LAUNCH SET FOR LATER THIS YEAR
The other three regional agencies -- Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif.; Korey Kay & Partners, New York; and Tausche Martin Lonsdorf, Atlanta -- have been waiting for the delayed U.S. launch of Daewoo, now set for later this year.
Daewoo reorganized earlier this year from four autonomous regional companies to a central one based in Compton, Calif. That move seems to leave unclear the status of the regional ad accounts, projected at about $10 million each.
Daewoo Chairman Kim Woo-Choon told Automotive News last month the carmaker would launch its cars with almost no advertising. He did not return calls last week.
Mr. Tucker, however, did say Daewoo plans to base its marketing on public relations activities, word of mouth and promotion.
"We want to be very non-traditional and we want to create efficiencies in unconventional ways," he said.