Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hello, I'm Mr. Accountability


Last year, at this very time, I was entering a little bit of hell known as the agency review.

I was hired by RP& to help on their defense of the Acura account. The new CMO at American Honda had come in and despite robust sales, declared he was unhappy with the work at RP& and was going to explore other options to "increase sales in exponential terms."

How good were things at Acura at the time?

Well, according to Jeff Conrad, Vice President at Acura Sales, "December (2012) was another month of tremendous sales growth." Adding, "Acura is primed for even more success in 2013."

These are quotes taken from the Honda Media Newsroom.
There will be a lot more from that site later on.

And yet, for all that cheerful optimism, the folks at Acura thought it necessary to shake things up. And so, they changed agencies. Which is definitely their prerogative. Though as a freelancer who had produced more than a dozen spots for RP&, I wasn't so thrilled to see the client go.

We've just closed out 2013, so I was curious to see how that decision played out. And while Adweek and AdAge are busy carrying stories about Vines, innovative open floor seating plans and which agencies employ the most attractive art directors, I decided to engage in a little fact-based journalism.

What I found is nothing less than astounding.

First, let's examine the Year Over Year sales growth for Acura while they were at RP& in the year 2012. I'm not great at making slick charts, so I hope you'll excuse the primitive nature of my handiwork.

June………..20.2%
July………...22.4%
Aug………...28.1%
Sept………...29.9%
Oct…………27.7%
Nov………..27.2%

Dismal, right?
I can certainly understand why the handsomely-paid Acura brass would call for an immediate review and throw RP& and the 100 or so dedicated professionals responsible for such abject failure to the curb.

Now, let's look at the past year, 2013, and the same 6 month time period under the creative management of the new agency.

June………5.5%
July……….7.4%
Aug……….7.7%
Sept……….4.4%
Oct………..5.6%
Nov……….6.8%

I'm no Ben Bernanke, but something seems amiss. The media might choose to ignore this. And the new ad agency will surely put some topspin on it. But I've spent enough time around car dealers -- sadly -- to know they're not interested in brand awareness. Or intention to buy. Or sales funnels. They're interested in moving sheet metal.

Plus, they know how to read a chart better than I do.

And in the words of Ricky Ricardo, "someone has got some splaining' to do."



1 comment:

George Tannenbaum said...

The new campaign is so pompous it makes me gag.

Made for mankind.

Oy fucking vey.