Mitsubishi, agencies calls for ‘aggressive media partner’

The automaker's got big plans for its 2008 strategy, and it wants potential media partners to come forward with ideas for innovative executions and plans that will work.

Mitsubishi Motors Canada, BBDO and OMD laid down a challenge to potential media partners looking for a piece of the automaker’s 2008 marketing strategy at a gathering at Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday morning. The company is set to release an official RFP today in a bid to forge a long-term alliance with an aggressive media partner.

The venue for yesterday’s presentation was fitting, considering that Mitsubishi clearly pointed out that proposals from any ‘aggressive media partner’ likely won’t be considered unless they’ve got a ‘flavour of athleticism.’

‘Our bulls-eye for 2008 and beyond is athleticism. We will target athleticism and really try to own as many spaces as we can,’ Larry Futers, Mitsubishi director of national marketing, told the many media outlets in attendance.

Futers pointed out previous sponsorship alignments that have already established an ‘athleticism’ feel to the Mitsubishi brand and promised more to come in 2008 – a year that will see the launch of two new vehicle models. ‘We can’t own Major League Baseball and we can’t own the NHL,’ he said. ‘But I think our partnership with the Canadian Hockey League is the perfect place for us to be – 19 championships across the country and the opportunity to activate at the university level. And I’ve already pointed out that we do have the youngest customers in the industry.’

It was the second year Mitsubishi has brought together reps from over 100 media outlets – including CTV, Global, MSN/Sympatico, CBC, Sun Media and the Globe and Mail. The summit gave an overview of the brand, its objectives and priorities, some details about today’s RFP and examples of creative TV spots and advertising from around the world that exemplifies the kind of strategy Mitsubishi wants to achieve with a media partner next year.

OMD director of ignition Gilad Coppersmith’s presentation touched on everything from a news-making shortest ad break in the world, executed in Portugal (a single-spot commercial pod), to guerrilla stunts, user-generated content success stories, brands becoming broadcasters by launching their own TV channels and mobile interactivity in cinema settings.

‘Don’t think the idea has to be original,’ Futers told media outlets, adding that integrated ideas trump originality. ‘I don’t necessarily want last year’s Honda proposal, but I’m happy with Hershey’s proposal, or Coca-Cola’s, or IBM’s, or anybody else’s – as long as it worked… But originality is good, too.’

Some key aspects of the RFP (a.k.a., things Mitsubishi is interested in for future marketing)? Ideas should be national in scope, drive showroom traffic at 70 locations across Canada and resonate with the key prospects for each of Mitsubishi’s models. User-generated content, mobile, in-game advertising and other emerging media are on the list of things to try. Advertorials are not.

Mitsubishi expects the proposals to be in by December 13, and the 10 days leading up to that date have been marked for media partners who want to make half-hour presentations.