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MEDIA REVIEW UNLIKELY FOR AMERICAN HONDA CO.;MARKETER SAYS CURRENT PRIORITY IS GETTING SUISSA MILLER ORIENTED

By Published on .

With Acura's $100 million media account now firmly planted at Western International Media Corp., American Honda Motor Co. said a corporate-wide media review is unlikely next year.

Speculation in media circles has centered on the possibility that Los Angeles-based Western, or a non-roster shop, might find an opening to land more Honda media work.

`I WOULD DOUBT' REVIEW

Eric Conn, American Honda's senior manager of automotive advertising, said an "evaluation" of the car marketer's media buying won't occur until after the first quarter of 1997.

"I would doubt at this point if it would ever get to the point of a formal review," he added.

Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., handles the $250 million Honda media and creative business.

"Our big priority right now is to get Suissa Miller [the Santa Monica agency newly awarded the creative assignment for American Honda's Acura division] people on board, oriented and productive," Mr. Conn said, "The original media [evaluation] has been shelved until we are very comfortable with Suissa, and that may be awhile because [Suissa] is obviously our top priority."

Western began working with Acura on an interim basis when Suissa won the creative account last month. Suissa uses Western for much of its media buying.

While Acura has not officially awarded its business to Western, Mr. Conn said, "provided they can service the account, I don't know why they would be taken off of it. And in all honesty, I can't imagine that they won't service the account."

RUBIN POSTAER TO DEFEND

Rubin Postaer President Gerrold Rubin reiterated his intent to defend his Honda media business.

"We will . . . attempt to make any accommodations," he said. That doesn't necessarily mean cutting commissions, Mr. Rubin added.

Western President Michael Kassan declined comment.

Separately, industry executives said Motorola is close to awarding its $30 to $40 million media account to Western or J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, with Western looking to be the favorite. The business now is split among a handful of agencies including Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, Chicago, and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Atlanta.

A Motorola spokeswoman said the company has completed a media "analysis" but added, "we have not taken any action on that analysis, and to be honest, I don't know if we will . . . It is in error to say we are in review or to say we have any definite plans."

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