Honda makes RPA its media buying shop

Dive Brief:

  • Honda Motor Company has named the independent shop RPA its media agency of record. RPA will oversee almost $600 million in media buying for the automotive brand, according to Adweek
  • RPA, launched in 1986, has worked with Honda as a client before, but never at this scale. The firm beat out MediaVest for the account, which anonymous sources told Adweek had been under quiet review since late last year, and which had previously lost creative duties on the Acura brand to Mullen in 2013. The Los Angeles Times reports that RPA will hire an additional 100 staff to accommodate its expanded role. 
  • "In a media landscape that is increasingly content, social and data driven we made a decision to return to a more consolidated structure for our media, social and content creation," Tom Peyton, vice president of Honda's national marketing operations, said in a statement to Adweek. "Our creative agencies will continue to focus on developing marketing campaigns to engage consumers with our products and brands, while we expect to realize even greater effectiveness with an agency placing content it creates."

Dive Insight:

Honda’s pick of RPA points to a growing shift in how big brands have been approaching agency relationships. Many marketers have begun taking digital and social responsibilities in-house or to specialized agencies as more entrenched, traditional firms have struggled to adjust to digital disruption.

RPA might have become more attractive to Honda because of its independent status and more focused expertise. While the shop doesn’t have the wide-ranging in-house support that a Publicis property like MediaVest can tap into, it might have more agility in the media marketplace and isn't tied down to a larger holding group.

The official change from MediaVest to RPA happens in April, although RPA will handle creative for Honda’s upcoming Super Bowl ad.

In December, Forrester Research forecast that digital and social agencies would win more of marketers' budgets in 2017 as brands looked to build out content development, and the RPA news follows that trend.  

Filed Under: Corporate News
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