Henderson Advertising claimed DaimlerChrysler Vans' estimated $30 million ad account with a combination of speed, experience and creative firepower.
The Greenville, S.C., shop literally jumped into the Huntersville, N.C.-based client's review with less than two weeks of prep time. Henderson then managed to defeat roster agency PentaMark Worldwide and two local competitors for the right to introduce the popular European vans to the U.S. market.
"One of the things they saw was that we were a quick study," said Henderson chief executive officer Ralph Callahan. "We handle Michelin's truck tire business, so we knew the commercial transportation category. We capped that with some smart, compelling creative work."
Henderson will introduce the commercial van, which will debut under the Freightliner brand later this year, via a nationwide print,television and outdoor campaign.
A consumer version is expected to premiere under an as yet undetermined name late next year.
"We will be blasting it off," said Andy Mendelsohn, Henderson's executive creative director. "We'll completely brand this product right down to designing showrooms, point-of-purchase and collateral materials."
Sources familiar with the review suggest the client's newly minted marketing team, led by vice president Craig Fisher, was looking to "create a relationship" with an agency rather than depend upon an existing channel. That approach probably worked against Pentamark, DaimlerChrysler's lead shop.
"This is a start-up," said one source. "A well-bankrolled start-up. They wanted to make sure they had their own team."
Henderson's pitch team was led by Mendelsohn, director of account service Al Perkinson, account supervisor Dan Gliatta, account planner Lauren Tucker and media chief Bill Reynolds, who scored points with an array of cost-effective strategies.
Henderson literally walked into the business when Gliatta learned of the review while attending a truck expo in Orlando, Fla.