Mitsubishi North America Taps Gregory Adams as VP-Marketing

Shift Comes as Automaker Names Trio of Agency Partners

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NEW YORK ( -- Mitsubishi Motors North America has named former Ferrari marketer Gregory Adams its new VP-marketing and product strategy, succeeding Frances Oda, who left amid a reorganization earlier this year.

For Mr. Adams, the appointment means a return to the Cypress, Calif.-based automaker (he earlier spent time within the Mitsubishi product planning division in Japan). Most recently, he was involved with helping Ferrari gain a presence in Asia.

At the same time, Mitsubishi said that, following a six-month-long review process, it has chosen three new agencies: Omnicom Group's 180, Los Angeles, for creative work; WPP's Schematic for digital work; and Triaville Communications for public relations.

With 180 on-board Mitsubishi's roster, the automaker's creative account is once again with Omnicom. Mitsubishi surprised ad land in the summer of 2008 when it shifted national creative responsibilities from Omnicom's BBDO West to Traffic, an El Segundo, Calif.-based shop led by Tom Cordner, who is known in auto circles for the launch of Lexus while at Team One.

Interestingly, Mitsubishi took pains in a prepared statement to note it has named the three agencies to work together with its event and media-buying and -planning agency, Omnicom's PHD, thereby "eschewing the more common single firm agency-of-record format." In the same statement, Shinichi Kurihara, president-CEO of the automaker, said the agencies will be developing and executing "new and engaging consumer outreach plans throughout the summer and onward."

A spokesman did not immediately return a call requesting further comment.

Mitsubishi has had a couple of tough years, but there are some positive signs for 2010; sales of the new Lancer Sportback were up 9% to 4,737 units in May compared to May 2009, marking the third straight monthly sales increase for the company. Another focus for Mitsubishi this year will be its newly launched electric vehicle department, which is focusing on the 2011 launch of an electric car.

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