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2014 Preview: MARKETING & MEDIA

Orange County marketers will no doubt continue to increase their focus on digital marketing to connect with consumers who are increasingly tethered to their smartphones.

Mazda North American Operations in Irvine, for example, dedicated 20% to 30% of its $200 million-plus marketing budget to digital advertising this year. An even bigger shift to digital is in store for 2014, according to Russell Wager, its vice president of marketing. Likewise, Hyundai Motor America Inc.’s advertising agency of record, InnoceanUSA in Huntington Beach, plans to put a “strong focus” on digital.

The shift comes as the Internet stakes a claim as the second largest ad medium, according to a report by Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia, accounting for 20.6% of global media spending, 21.7% in the U.S. TV still reigns, with 40.2% of the market share. Newspapers dropped to third place with 17%. Looking ahead, digital advertising will likely account for 30.7% of ad media buys in the U.S. by 2016, ZenithOptimedia predicts.

Aaron Kushner, co-owner of Freedom Communications Holdings Inc.’s Orange County Register, appears set to continue to buck the trend with bets on print advertising and daily newspapers. He recently announced plans to expand further into Los Angeles—adding to a Long Beach section of the Register. That comes on top of a $27.3 million buy of the Press-Enterprise daily in Riverside last month. The more-is-more strategy has yet to yield circulation gains or profits, according to reports, and 2014 will likely tell the tale on Kushner’s fate as a media maverick.

• COMPANY TO WATCH: Innocean USA

Innocean USA’s ingenuity helped its main client and owner, Hyundai Motor Co., engage an array of audiences this year and increase the automaker’s brand value to $9 billion, up 20% from last year, according to Interbrand’s 2013 Best 100 Global Brands list.

The Huntington Beach-based advertising agency produced five Super Bowl spots for Hyundai, whose Hyundai Motor America subsidiary is headquartered in Costa Mesa, with a new headquarters in Fountain Valley nearly complete. “Stuck” made it to No. 4 on Time Magazine’s Most Buzzed-About Super Bowl Ads list, while “Team” made the top 10 on USA Today’s Ad Meter. The agency is also working on commercials for the 2014 Super Bowl—Hyundai’s seventh consecutive appearance—which will feature Genesis and Elantra.

Innocean, aside from big game spots, created “The Walking Dead Chop Shop” campaign, which enabled fans to connect with the brand by transforming Hyundai vehicles into their own “Zombie Survival Machine” via a custom mobile application and a website.

The agency also works with FootJoy in Fairhaven, Mass., See’s Candies Inc. in Carson, and Alpina Foods in Batavia, N.Y. It’s Irvine-based Kia Motors America’s media and promotions agency. Innocean will focus on bringing in additional clients in 2014 and new staff to grow its digital practice.


• PERSON TO WATCH: ANDREW LEISNER

Andrew Leisner took the reins of the Bonnier Motorcycle Group in May after it swapped six surf and skateboard titles for nine motorcycle publications from San Clemente-based Grind Media.

The deal made it one of the largest motorcycle-enthusiast media groups in the world, with a roster that now includes one-time competitors, such as Cycle World and Motorcyclist magazines. Leisner said in a recent interview that there’s room in the market for both titles, as each has a faithful fan base, and their combined readership gives the group more to offer to advertisers.

The group is owned by Bonnier Corp., the $5 billion U.S. arm of Sweden-based Bonnier AB. It has 52 employees at its 29,000-square-foot office in the Irvine Spectrum, where it produces 10 magazines with a combined print readership of 871,123. Last year, it generated $26.2 million in revenue from ad sales and circulation. Leisner was named sales manager of the year for Bonnier AB last year and was promoted to group publisher this year. Next year will come the test of integrating the newly constituted group of motorcycle titles.

PREDICTION:

Taco Bell will name Deutsch LA its sole agency of record, edging out sister agency Draftfcb, which moved much of its staff from an Irvine office to Los Angeles this year.

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