As Martin, Davis Omon & Partners watched its only substantial account, Toyota Motor Sales corporate advertising, drive away to a new agency formed by former Omon staffers, it is fair to wonder if Joanne Davis and Rodd Martin regret their decision last spring to buy out the shop from Omon, its Sydney, Australia parent. In hindsight, it virtually guaranteed Toyota's exit.
The key players on the account to Toyota were, and are, creative director Paul Bernasconi and account director Rand Pearsall. Bernasconi had come to the agency from Omon, but left last February when Davis and Martin bought out the Aussie shop. Pearsall left in early March. Shortly thereafter, Toyota fired Omon. Then, Bernasconi, Pearsall, media director Eric McClure and planning director Hilde ORRD, quietly formed Oasis International Group to take on the business when Omon's three month notice was up in mid-June.
"Omon had created great work for us," said Toyota group director of external affairs Tim Andree. "But when Paul (Bernasconi) left, and then Rand (Pearsall) was going to leave, I felt I didn't have the same agency anymore, so I began a review," he said.
Given Andree's feelings, it seems odd that Davis and Martin would make the agency independent, a move that assured Bernasconi's exit. "I had philosophical differences with the agency's ownership, so when Omon was no longer part of it, I decided to leave," Bernasconi said last week.
Joanne Davis would not comment on the matter. "Rodd Martin and I are evaluating the agency's future, and that's all I can say," she offered.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)