The four finalists chasing creative duties on Midas' $50 million account will receive an assignment in early September with a decision expected by the end of the month.
Competing for the business are Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York, Square One in Dallas and the Bcom3 team of The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York and Moroch & Associates in Dallas, according to Bob Troyer, a representative of Midas in Chicago. Troyer also outlined the timetable for the remainder of the review.
Carat in New York will continue to handle media.
"We said all along we wanted a good partner in the retailing area and strong creative shops," Troyer said. "Capability and responsiveness were key issues" in selecting the finalists, he added.
Perhaps the shop with the most notable relevant experience is Cliff Freeman, which handled Pep Boys for many years.
Midas split with Chicago agency Euro RSCG McConnaughy Tatham in May. Despite saying it would contact "not more than four" shops [Adweek, June 11], the company sent a single-page list of 14 questions to a number of agencies, sources said.
The winner of the review will pick up a notoriously difficult client whose fractious franchisee groups make it hard to develop a consistent advertising platform, sources said. Interestingly, the questionnaire asked about how the agencies handle difficult clients.
The car-care company has gone through four agencies in the past six years. Its message has varied in that time, with taglines ranging from "What can we do for you today?" by J. Walter Thompson in Chicago to "Go Midas" from Tatham.
In the months leading up to the split, Tatham presented seven different campaigns to the client, none of which made it past testing, sources said.
Troyer had said staff turnover at the agency played a role in the split as well.