Amtrak Parts Ways with Ogilvy

NEW YORK — Amtrak has parted ways with Ogilvy & Mather just months after awarding the estimated $35 million account to the New York shop, the client confirmed.

“After a thorough review of its relationship, Amtrak and Ogilvy & Mather have agreed to discontinue their present association,” said client representative Bill Schultz in a statement. “Ogilvy & Mather had served as Amtrak’s agency of record for advertising services since March 2001. Amtrak will continue to work with a select number of agencies with which it has current relationships and does not plan to conduct a search for a successor agency at this time.”

Ogilvy and Amtrak decided to part ways last month, and the transition will be completed by the end of the year, Schultz said.

Sources said Amtrak is working with E. James White in Herndon, Va., one of the shops on its roster before the account moved to Ogilvy. The Chisholm-Mingo Group, an African-American agency and Source Communications, a sports marketing firm, are working with Amtrak, sources said. Both shops are in New York.

Schultz declined comment on which shops Amtrak is using.

The change comes as the Washington, D.C.-based client was asked this month by the federal Amtrak Reform Council to draw up a plan for its own liquidation.

However, the national rail service will continue to run while the Council writes a proposal to restructure the company.

Schultz said Amtrak expects to work with the Bush administration and Congress on a long-term funding proposal for the rail service in early 2002.

Amtrak’s advertising account went into review in July 2000 after a 19-year relationship with DDB New York. Ogilvy won the account in February of this year and began working on it in March. DDB and the other incumbent on the business, E. James White of Herndon, Va., had participated in early rounds of that review as did BBDO and Foote, Cone & Belding, both New York, before the search was narrowed to FCB, Ogilvy and The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va