Martin Vies In AMF Tourney

AMF Bowling Worldwide is talking to six contenders about assuming creative and media duties on its $10-15 million ad account.
The shops are: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Hampel/Stefanides and Merkley Newman Harty, both in New York; The Richards Group, Dallas; Chicago Creative Partnership; and Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.
Merrell Wreden, vice president of marketing at AMF in Richmond, said he hopes to name finalists within the next two weeks. Consulting with the client on the review is Martin Agency chairman emeritus Harry Jacobs.
Incumbent Mumford Marketing, also in Richmond, won the account early last year [Adweek Southeast, Feb. 3, 1997] when AMF consolidated the business. Previously, the client employed shops on a project basis. Wreden said that Mumford would still “have a role” in AMF’s plans after the lead agency was determined. He would not elaborate.
Wreden will reserve the option of assigning media duties separately.
“Our business is growing and we [want to] market our bowling centers more aggressively,” Wreden said.
One of the client’s aims is to mainstream bowling by positioning it more as entertainment than sport. The company has already touted “Xtreme bowling,” which utilizes fluorescent pins and balls under black lights.
AMF’s 1997 sales were $714 million, a 30 percent rise over the previous year, per Hoover’s Online. Its net income was $55 million. An initial public offering completed in November generated $284 million in net proceeds, AMF reported. The money was used to reduce debt and raise capital for growth and acquisitions. Microsoft Investor rated the firm a “buy and hold” in April. However, “bowling’s kingpin,” as Hoover’s terms the client, spent just $4 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.
AMF’s nearest rival is Bruns-wick, whose account is at Ackerman McQueen in Oklahoma City.