WASHINGTON, D.C.-Trahan, Burden & Charles had a modest celebration last week winning the $5 million account of the Baltimore Ford Dealership Association. The automotive victory came on the heels of the Baltimore agency's painful and abrupt loss of Micron Electronics, a $35 million piece of business.
Separately, the $10 million Washington, D.C., Ford Dealership Association business was awarded the same week to J. Walter Thompson in Detroit, the automaker's national agency. Finalist Earl Palmer Brown, which had combined its forces from Bethesda, Md., and Philadelphia, could not pull off the unexpected and topple JWT, which handles most of Ford's co-op business in the U.S.
Back in Baltimore, the decision by Nampa, Idaho-based Micron to quickly and quietly place part of its business with Austin, Texas-based Bam! last week compelled Trahan, Burden & Charles (TBC) to contemplate personnel layoffs.
"Fortunately, we did not hire a lot of people for the [Micron account]," said agency creative director Allan Charles. "There will be some minimal layoffs in some support categories like traffic and digital production."
Typical of the high-tech category, there had been more than one management change at Micron since TBC acquired the account in a surprise win 18 months ago.
"The mobility in the high-tech industry makes the ad industry look stable," said Charles.
TBC created a series of TV spots this year that featured former mid-level business managers sitting in parks, feeding pigeons and berating themselves for not knowing about the benefits of Micron's computers in time to be more productive and keep their jobs.
TBC will start advertising for the Baltimore Ford co-op some time in March, as the business makes the transition from predecessor W.B. Doner in Baltimore.
Doner resigned the $80-100 million in Ford dealership advertising last November, when its Southfield, Mich., office successfully campaigned for the national account of Mazda North American Operations.