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Porsche looks west By David Kiley and Fara Warne

Porsche Cars North America, last week began meeting with West Coast shops in a review for the $18-million account that will include 10 agencies from San Diego to Se

Joel Ewanick, U.S. marketing manager at Porsche, which unexpectedly fired Fallon McElligott/ Minneapolis two weeks ago, said he has been soliciting agency reels and quietly identifying contenders for about eight weeks and has viewed creative from about 25 shops across the U.S. But, he said, because the company is based in Reno, Nev., Porsche management decided to restrict the review, which will be decided next month, to the West Coast.
“It’s important to us to be able to travel to our agency, meet and be able to get back to Reno in one day,” said Ewanick, who joined Porsche in November, 1989 from Team One, where he helped launch the Lexus.
After meeting with shops in New York he determined that it would be too costly and time-consuming to work with an East Coast shop.
Ewanick said that while Porsche’s advertising will always be heavily print driven, he wants a shop that has a track record for doing superior TV work as well.
Porsche has fallen on hard times in recent years, selling 4,133 cars last year, compared with more than 30,000 in 1986. Ewanick said the firm has no illusions of reaching that level again, at least in the ’90s. “But we think 7,000 to 10,000 by the year 2000 is reachable,” he said.
Porsche is suffering from a changing value system and lifestyle that’s driven baby boomers from the small, high-performance roadsters and into the seat of sport utility vehicles. A dearth of new product has also contributed to the sales slide.
“Porsche still is a very valuable brand, but the company has stood still for too long in the area of product,” said consultant John Slaven of Slaven Marketing Services, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
The company spent about $7 million in advertising during the first six months of this year, according to LNA, which is up slightly from the previous three years. Ewanick expects spending to reach $18 million by year’s end.
Fallon was compensated by fee, but the marketing manager said he will listen to alternatives from the contending agencies. “If we can’t agree on a rate, than maybe we’ll do a fee again,” he said.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)