The second time was a charm for Bernstein-Rein Advertising, which last week picked up Thrifty Car Rental's $10 million account.
The Kansas City, Mo., agency was chosen over fellow finalists Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, and The Richards Group, Dallas, after a three-month review. Incumbent Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City, resigned the account in June over creative differences.
Thrifty president Don Himmelfarb said Bernstein "really distinguished themselves" with a strong strategic positioning presentation. He would not disclose details about that positioning, but said airports will likely be a key growth area for the company.
Bernstein was runner-up in Thrifty's review in 1995, when Ackerman was selected to succeed Compton Partners/Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.
Thrifty is the only major chain that derives equal revenues from the local rental and airport rental segments. Most rely more heavily on the latter.
The agency's duties will include TV and print creative development, media placement, sales promotion and possibly some direct marketing. The client had originally said the
winner would need to open a Tulsa, Okla., office, but Bernstein is not expected to do so. Thrifty officials said the agency demonstrated that it can service the account adequately from Kansas City.
The agency's demonstration of its capabilities in the earlier review helped it secure a return invitation, Himmelfarb said, but did not give it an advantage over the other shops.