“Mitsubishi, BBDO Still Not Official” by Gregory Solman, Adweek

Still no contract, but carmaker says shoots are planned

Published April 18, 2005

Six weeks after naming BBDO as its creative agency, Mitsubishi Motors North America is still not done with contract negotiations, sources said.

The agency has been working under a letter of intent from the client, sources said, but the actual contract is still in the legal department, one noted. At issue are such technicalities as bidding processes and out-of-pocket expenses, although one source said compensation may still be a sticking point.

One search consultant says it isn’t unusal for contract talks to extend as much as two months past a decision, but “more and more these days, clients are insisting that contracts be done quickly. Everybody wants to make sure that everything they sign is clean.”

“Best practice is that you don’t have an agency start working until the contract is signed,” agreed Arthur Anderson, principal of Morgan Anderson Consulting in New York. “But usually a letter of intent is at least given and the agency starts working.”

A rep for the Cypress, Calif., carmaker would not discuss whether or not a contract had been signed, saying only, “We have a shoot this week, we have another shoot next week. We’re moving forward.” BBDO declined comment.

Sources said the budget has dwindled to just under $120 million—down from the $200 million when the review began in December and the $285 million Mitsubishi spent in 2004.

Sources also said no media has been booked for the June 12 launch of the Eclipse, a model dealers are counting on to spark a comeback.

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