Dieste Harmel & Partners Resigns, Declines to Repitch

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NEW YORK ( -- Hyundai Motor America has put its $30 million U.S. Hispanic account in review, prompting longtime agency Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, to resign the business rather than re-pitch.

Declined to participate
Dieste preempted a formal announcement from the car maker by making its own resignation statement this morning. The agency said it had declined the car maker's invitation to participate in the review.

A Hyundai spokesman said he couldn’t confirm that Dieste had resigned the business or that Hyundai is doing a review, but said he would have more information soon.

Dieste Harmel was named Hyundai’s first Hispanic agency of record six years ago and is the only Hispanic shop the car maker has ever worked with, according to the agency.

“We are proud of the role we have played in helping Hyundai become a major player in the USA, with an incredible sales growth from some 90,000 vehicles to almost 400,000,” said CEO Tony Dieste in a statement.

$30 million in 2004
In one of the biggest-spending categories in the Hispanic market, Hyundai ranked as the 27th-largest advertiser, spending $30 million in 2004, an increase of 8% over the previous year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Dieste handled creative, account planning, production, interactive, direct marketing and promotions for Hyundai. Dieste, part of Omnicom Group, is the fourth-largest Hispanic agency, with estimated 2004 revenue of $31 million, a 35% increase from the previous year, according to Advertising Age’s ranking of Hispanic agencies.

The Hispanic car market is becoming increasingly competitive as long-awaited work is set to break in early November for Nissan from New York-based Vidal Partnership, which won the business late last year in one of the biggest account moves in the Hispanic market.

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