Kresser/Craig has linked with New York agency Waring & LaRosa to pitch the $25-30-million Audi of America account, making W&L the second East Coast shop in two weeks to be looking West for an alliance aimed at pursuing auto business.
If the deal sticks – sources said the agreement depends on whether Waring & LaRosa makes the first cut for Audi – Kresser/Craig will get a shot at a car account it couldn’t otherwise pitch (Audi’s review is restricted to Eastern and Midwest shops). The shop, which has been staffed for a car account for over a year now, bring formidable car experience to Waring & LaRosa’s credentials. W&L received an Audi questionnaire, which it completed jointly with Kresser/Craig.
Executives at the two shops would not confirm the alliance.
The arrangement likely also involves Western International Media, which buys media for both agencies.
Discussions between K/C, a $96-million shop whose billings grew 5% last year, and $80-million Waring & LaRosa, which grew 16%, began before this review, sources said. Executives at the agencies became acquainted when they were Omnicom cousins several years ago.
‘The point for Kresser/Craig is to collaborate on a car account,’ a source said. ‘They’re determined to get one.’ The shop turned down an invitation to pitch the BMW Dealer Association accounts, preferring to wait for a factory review. When Porsche North America’s account came up, K/C wasn’t invited.
W&L has also been after an auto account. The agency was a finalist for Alfa Romeo and received a questionnaire for the BMW pitch, though it didn’t make the cut.
There has been talk that W&L founders Saul Waring and Joseph LaRosa, both believed to be in their 60s, are looking for a buyer as they plan their retirement. K/C could fill that bill.
Kresser/Craig handled Daihatsu America’s $15-18 million account for four years before the automaker withdrew from the U.S. Since then, the agency has moved to enhance its auto credentials in hopes of replacing that account. Terry Foutz, the former Nissan national ad manager and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos account manager for Infiniti who worked on Diahatsu at K/C, rejoined the shop 14 months ago. Last year, K/C hired creative director Dan Mountain, another Infiniti veteran from Hill Holliday.
Meanwhile, Griffin Bacal/N.Y. is looking to buy into an L.A. agency to pursue Kia, ADWEEK has reported.
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