After a four-month review, WestWayne bested Della Femina, Rothschild, Jeary and Partners, Grey Worldwide, Gotham and Omni Automotive for the Southeast Toyota Distributors' $70 million advertising account.
"We nailed it on strategy, creative, integrated and our presentation," said Andrew Jones, president of WestWayne's Atlanta operations." We got the impression the guys from New York weren't really close."
Incumbents Saatchi & Saatchi in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; McGee & Starr in Boca Raton, Fla.; and the Moran Group in Baton Rouge, La., were eliminated earlier in the search. Omni Automotive in Birmingham, Ala., was the only incumbent to make the final round.
Keys to WestWayne's victory, according to Bob Wolf, whose AAR/Bob Wolf Partners of Los Angeles and New York conducted the review, were experience in the client's Southeastern footprint and "dynamic presentations" by chief creative officer Luke Sullivan and Tobi Carvana-Moore, creative director of Black Sheep, an agency unit focused on minority marketing.
Saatchi—agency of record for Toyota Motor Sales USA—had been the client's lead shop since the early 1990s. It was ousted in an earlier round of the review.
"We worked hard at every stage of this courtship ritual," said Jones. That process continued after the agency had been declared the winner by the review committee. WestWayne had to be approved by both Pat Moran, Southeast Toyota's chief operating officer, and 84-year-old company founder Jim Moran.
WestWayne's challenge, said Jones, will be to target its marketing message—delivered in the pitch as "Choose Wisely"—to the strategic middle ground between Saatchi's factory-sponsored work and the "Buy Now! Buy Today! Buy Here!" drumbeat of the dealerships.
"The dealers spend all their [advertising] money fighting each other rather than the competition," Jones said. "Our brief is to be a decision simplifier."
The bottom line, said one manager involved in the review, will be to drive sales from 207,000 to 225,00 units over the next year.
The Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., agency's campaign will include television, radio, print and outdoor ads, as well as event marketing.
Nearly a fifth of the Toyotas sold in this country are distributed by the $6.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Its sales territory includes Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.