$40 Mil. Checkers Eyes Amalgamated

LOS ANGELES Independent Amalgamated is in final negotiation to add creative duties on the $40 million ad account of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, according to sources.

Client representatives could not be immediately reached. The agency declined comment.

The New York-based shop won a review that started last December and came down to Amalgamated and independent G&M Plumbing of Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Marc USA in Pittsburgh had previously handled the assignment.

“We were thrilled to be among the top two agencies to compete for the brand,” said Mickey Taylor, co-founder and co-creative director at G&M. “We were very happy that we made it to the finals considering we are 2,500 miles away and knowing they conducted a nationwide search.” He declined further comment.

Media duties, handled internally, were not included in the review.

The Tampa, Fla.-based client operates 780 restaurants in 20 states under the Checkers and Rally’s banners.

The client spent $40 million in measured media in each of the past two year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Marc last year promoted the company’s Nascar sponsorship in a campaign that showed people racing in go-carts, Vespa scooters and other vehicles. The campaign’s theme was “Go,” implying that it didn’t matter how people traveled, as long as they wound up at Checkers or Rally’s.

The client said it would continue that campaign through the first quarter of 2006. “You gotta eat” is the company’s five-year-old tagline.