Southern Cal Auto Club Selects FCB

LOS ANGELES The Automobile Club of Southern California said it has tapped Foote, Cone & Belding, Southern California to handle its $5-10 million creative and media account.

The Irvine, Calif. shop edged out Grey in Los Angeles, which has produced public service announcements for the client, following a review. Also in the review were California shops Ground Zero in Marina del Rey; McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles; and TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey were eliminated earlier in the process.

FCB is charged with creating an umbrella branding strategy for the 102-year-old organization, to encompass four areas: insurance, travel, automotive and financial service offerings. Work will include TV, outdoor and print ads, expected to break in the first quarter of 2003.

“We believe they created the strongest umbrella strategy to leverage the strength of the brand and integrate our four lines of business,” said Michael Johnson, vp of marketing and product management for the Los Angeles-based client.

Ads will likely include an extension of the current tagline, “We’re always with you,” said Johnson.

“The auto club is such an outstanding brand and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help it grow,” said Jim Harrington, president of FCB Southern California.

Grey has worked with the client for about seven years on public service announcements, as well as direct response campaigns through Grey Direct. The Auto Club’s direct response account will remain with Grey Direct, Johnson said. The agency’s president, John Crosson, said the agency will continue to work on PSAs as well.