FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA: Hyundai is getting serious about its PR, planning to hire a network of regional firms and to spend in the high-six-figures on PR before the year is through.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA: Hyundai is getting serious about its PR,
planning to hire a network of regional firms and to spend in the
high-six-figures on PR before the year is through.
The move towards a series of smaller agencies is similar to a plan
recently announced by Gateway. Earlier this month, the computer giant
put Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger in charge of appointing a network of
firms across the country (PRWeek, Feb. 14).
The Korea-based automaker recently hired Detroit’s John Bailey &
Associates to handle its PR in the midwest and is only days away from
announcing the selection of a New Jersey firm to handle east coast PR,
according to director of communications Chris Hosford.
The company has also begun a search for a southern agency to handle
regional PR and national minority media relations, and will continue to
work with Paine Associates, which was hired last year, in
Hosford said the move to increase PR spending was spurred by a lack of
in-house resources to properly handle media relations with the roughly
1,800 US auto writers. Hyundai has a mere five PR staffers in its
Fountain View, CA headquarters.
Hosford opted for a network of regional shops instead of a single
national agency because he wanted contacts with local auto writers. He
also expressed his preference to be a big fish in the smaller pond of
local firms, rather than a small account for a national agency.
Of course, it’s doubtful that any of the major agencies with auto PR
clients would have walked away from work for a larger carmaker to
partner with Hyundai, which has a mere 2% of the US car market.
Though Hyundai’s US sales are strong (they jumped 81% last year), its
Korean parent is being mentioned in auto circles as a possible takeover
candidate for Ford.