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Richards Vies For AMF

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AMF Bowling Worldwide is talking to six contenders about assuming creative and media duties on its $10-15 million account.
The shops are: The Richards Group, Dallas; The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Hampel/Stefanides and Merkley Newman Harty, both in New York; Chicago Creative Partnership; and Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.
Merrell Wreden, vice president of marketing at AMF in Richmond, said he hopes to name finalists within two weeks. Acting as a review consultant for the client is Martin Agency chairman emeritus Harry Jacobs.
Incumbent Mumford Marketing, also in Richmond, won the account early last year [Adweek Southeast, Feb. 3, 1997]. Wreden said that Mumford would still "have a role" in AMF's plans after the lead agency was determined. He would not elaborate.
Wreden will reserve the option of assigning media duties separately. "Our business is growing and we [want to] market our bowling centers more aggressively," he said.
One of AMF's aims is to mainstream bowling by positioning it more as entertainment than sport. Operating nearly 500 centers, AMF has already touted "Xtreme bowling," which utilizes fluorescent pins and balls under black lights.
AMF's 1997 sales were $714 million, a 30 percent rise over the previous year, per Hoover's Online. Its net income was $55 million. An initial public offering completed in November generated $284 million in net proceeds, the company reported.
AMF spent $4 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. Its three main divisions are: AMF Bowling Products, AMF Bowling Centers and AMF Playmaster.