Polaris Selects M/W to Handle Its Account

Polaris Industries last week named Minneapolis agency Martin/Williams as agency of record for its $3-5 million personal watercraft and snowmobile account after a two-month review.
M/W bested fellow finalist Clarity Coverdale Fury, also in Minneapolis. The business includes creative development, production, media placement and collateral design.
Carmichael Lynch, the 15-year incumbent on the account, participated in the review but was eliminated before the final round. The other semifinalists were Colle & McVoy, Kerker Marketing Communications and Peterson Milla Hooks, all in Minneapolis.
M/W’s first task will be to develop a campaign and collateral materials for the company’s 2000 model year snowmobiles, said Mike Gray, the agency’s director of new business development. The shop will then turn its attention to the personal watercraft products and other branding issues, he said.
“Over the longer term, [Polaris] wants to look at what [its] brand means across all categories,” he said.
The Plymouth, Minn., company also makes all-terrain vehicles and Victory motorcycles. Advertising for those products is handled by Associates & Stahl in Minneapolis. Those lines were not included in the review.
Company officials said they were impressed during the pitch with M/W’s strategic capabilities and brand-building experience.
Thomas Tiller, who joined Polaris earlier this year as president and chief operating officer, initiated the review, sources said.
Polaris is the world’s largest snowmobile manufacturer, but that dominance has been challenged in recent years by other snowmobile brands such as Arctic Cat, Bombardier’s Ski-Doo and models by Yamaha and Kawasaki.
Polaris spent about $3 million on advertising during the first half of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.