Cars.com has found a new home.
Two months after launching a review of its creative business, Cars.com has hired the Chicago office of mcgarrybowen. Annual media spending is estimated at $30 million.
Three other shops competed for the assignment, including The Martin Agency, according to sources. The other contenders could not be ascertained.
The new agency replaces DDB Chicago, which handled the account since 2001 but declined to defend.
Other top accounts at mcgarrybowen's Chicago office include Kraft, Sears and Bud Light. The office, led by president Tim Scott and chief creative officer Ned Crowley, has a staff of about 200.
In making the hire, Cars.com vp of marketing Linda Bartman cited the winner's "ability to provide true strategic insights into our category, fully integrate within our marketing mix and deliver ground-breaking creative."
In the past, Cars.com has been a regular advertiser on the Super Bowl. This year, the brand ran an ad in the third quarter that was set in a dealership and depicted a fortyish guy with an extra head coming out of his back, Men in Black style. The mini head—which sang, "Hey baby, I want that car. Hey, baby, I really want that car. Let's get that car and go!"—represented the confidence the shopper gained by pre-researching auto brands on Cars.com.
The brand has showcased itself during the big game for five straight years, but has yet to decide whether to continue this with next year's game, which will air on CBS and is already more than half sold-out.