Raw deal for GMO in its firing by Kia

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When I read of the decision by [Kia Motors America Exec VP-Marketing and Sales] Dick Macedo to terminate Kia's six-year relationship with Goldberg Moser O'Neill ("Asia's financial woes spread to U.S. car shops," AA, Nov. 22), I wasn't just saddened. I was flat out agitated.

As a manager/owner of an agency here in San Francisco, I know how much we depend on the good faith and trust of clients. I know that in the spirit of partnership we forgive them for their missteps as we ask them to forgive us for ours. But at the end of the day, we look to the business results and the quality of the work, and put everything else aside.

Then I look at what GMO has done for the Kia brand and I sit completely bewildered at Mr. Macedo's decision to terminate the relationship for the reasons he has articulated.

Let me get this straight. By his own admission, Kia was getting great work and great results. Then he fired his agency, which crawled over glass for him for six years while he relished in making them jump through all kinds hoops just for the mere sport of it.

What I would like to know is what makes him think GMO couldn't handle Kia's growth when they took Kia from nothing six years ago to a brand with the kind of sales results he applauded in the same breath? I would argue it is much more taxing on the infrastructure of an agency to launch a brand and to support its initial growth than it is to take it to another level of growth.

GMO didn't become one of the fastest growing agencies in this market because it couldn't accommodate growth from its clients. I know that agency/client relationships come and agency/client relationships go. And I know the most successful and longer-lasting ones are built on trust and respect.

Based on the number of people that were chewed up and spit out on the Kia business over the course of the last six years, I think it is fair to say that trust and respect are not traits that in any way characterize the way Dick Macedo does business.

So it's on to the next agency, Dick. But before you make your decision, do all of us in the industry a big favor. Look in the mirror.

Wayne Buder


Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners

San Francisco

Editor's note: Mr. Buder worked at Goldberg Moser O'Neill from 1991 to 1996.

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