Techsonic Finds Way to McRae

Techsonic Industries, manufacturer of marine electronics, fish finders and GPS products, has moved its marketing business to McRae Communications.

The Fayetteville, Ga., shop acquired the account in what agency founder and president Joe Snowden called a “creative shoot-out” against three-year incumbent Fitzgerald + Co. in Atlanta.

The process began three months ago when Rick Nelson, global marketing director for the Eufala, Ala.- based client, approached Snowden.

“The client gave us an opportunity to present how we would creatively handle the launch of a new line of fish finders,” said Snowden. “We responded with creative, several executions and ideas about promoting it across public relations and new media. They gave us the entire account.”

Russ LeBlanc, vice president and account supervisor at Fitzgerald, argued that Techsonic had never been in review. “The client had them do creative, which he liked, but he needed a lower coststructure to move forward and that’s what McRae represents,” said LeBlanc.

Nelson did not return calls for comment by press time.

Previous budgeting was reported at $3-5 million in 1999 when Fitz-gerald won the account; spending dropped to $407,000 in 2000, according to CMR. Snowden said the new budget would be the $1-5 million range.

“We are delighted that Techsonic is working with an agency that can meet their overall creative, cost and communication needs,” said Lisa Galanti, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Fitzgerald.

Techsonic’s leading product line is the Humminbird fish finder, a series of electronic devices sold in outlets like Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

McRae’s initial focus will be the launch of Piranha, a new fish finder aimed at novice anglers. Initial advertising will coincide with the holiday shopping season and include point-of-purchase work.

“When you name a product Piranha, you have opened a wide expanse of creative opportunity,” said Snowden, adding that his staff had prepared multiple advertising concepts for Techsonic. “None of them are final, but several let the client know we had the chops to get to the final concept.”

Print will break in November outdoor, fishing and sports magazines. TV in support of Humminbird’s sponsorships on fishing shows will debut in first-quarter 2002.