Mercedes’ Longtime Shop Gets Into Auto Products

Merkley takes on Armor All, STP and other brands

An agency synonymous with car advertising is naturally pivoting into auto lubricants and cleaners.

Merkley + Partners in New York has become the new agency for Armored AutoGroup, whose brands include Armor All, STP, A/C Pro and Tuff Stuff. Annual media spending ranges between $10 million and $15 million annually, according to Nielsen.

The assignment encompasses both creative and media responsibilties, with creative expected to take the form of traditional ads, digital ads and social media marketing. Merkley, the longtime lead agency for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S., will also plan and buy media in print and online, and outsource broadcast buying to another shop. Merkley has yet to identify that shop.

Merkley landed the assignment after a review. Sources identified the other finalists as Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C. and the primary incumbent, DDB in San Francisco. Optimize Marketing Group in Redding, Conn. managed the search.

DDB started working for Armored in 2010 (on Armor All) and added STP a year later. But the Omnicom Group's connection to those brands dates back to when they were owned by Clorox. Clorox sold the brands to Avista Capital Partners in 2010.

In making the switch, Guy Andrysick, evp of global sales and marketing at Armored, cited not only Merkley's auto experience but also its work for packaged goods brands. The agency's accounts include Nutella and Sun Products, the maker of All laundry detergent and Sunlight dishwashing liquid. The agency's first work for Armored is expected in the spring.