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Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America kicks off its first regional sales event today, with a spot TV campaign via its dealer ad groups.

Under the "Everybody Wins" promotion, dealer groups can choose to promote two of three vehicles-the Eclipse coupe, Galant sedan or Montero Sport sport-utility vehicle, said Peg Dilworth-Hunt, marketing director at Mitsubishi.

The regional groups also can pick from an inventory of nine TV commercials, three for each vehicle. The spots are from Deutsch, New York and Marina del Rey, Calif.; the first TV flight ends April 20; a second runs from mid-May to the end of May.

During the past year, Mitsubishi has encouraged its dealers to form regional ad groups, and they have grown from 11 to 41. When Deutsch won the regional ad account a year ago, the marketer said its annual spending could reach $65 million to $80 million.

Eric Hirshberg, executive creative director at the agency, does voice-over in six commercials. All nine spots carry the national tag, "Wake up and drive."


The TV buy is supplemented by Web banner ads and point-of-purchase materials, said Ms. Dilworth-Hunt.

After several years of market-share erosion, the brand is starting to show signs of life. Mitsubishi sold 190,515 vehicles last year, up 0.7% from the 189,163 sold in '97, according to Automotive News. Last month, Mitsubishi said sales improved 69% to 20,388 vehicles from 12,060 in March 1997.

John Ourisman, a Mitsubishi dealer in Marlow Heights, Md., said his dealership tripled unit sales during the first quarter from the same period a year ago. He said advertising from Deutsch, which started with Galant's launch last summer, has broadened the brand's appeal to younger buyers.

"The 'Wake up and drive' campaign is better than most of the advertising I've

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