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Turbo-Charged Split Up

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Porsche's 911 Shop Calls It Quits With Car Maker
LOS ANGELES--Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., one of the finalists in the recently concluded Porsche Cars of North America review, is no longer working with the automaker, even on a project basis, agency executives confirmed last week.
"We've decided not to do any more work with them," said Dick Sittig, president of the Santa Monica, Calif., agency. "It's over."
For the past several months, the agency had been working on a strategic and creative assignment to launch Porsche's Turbo 911 next year, which Sittig said he believed to be separate and unrelated to the review for the main account.
Porsche chose Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis to handle the creative portion of its $15 million account last month [Adweek, Feb. 15]. The cornerstone of the pitch assignment was advising the automaker on its first entry into the crowded sport utility vehicle category.
Subsequent to the review, Sittig said he was told by Porsche executives that the agency would have to vie with Carmichael for the Turbo assignment, even though Kowloon executives had been led to believe that they had been given the green light in January to proceed with its creative ideas.
"We'd already had gone through the international competition," Sittig said. "We shouldn't have to do it again."
Porsche officials said there was never an assignment given for the Turbo.
"We wanted to see [Kowloon's] ideas, but we wanted to see what the new agency [Carmichael Lynch] could do," said Richard Ford, chief operating officer of Porsche Cars North America.
He pointed out that when Goodby, Silverstein & Partners had the account, the client would solicit ideas from its various domestic and overseas agencies.
The Turbo 911 rolls out next year, although an exact launch date is undisclosed.
Ford and manager of marketing communication Kevin Nicholls plan to determine which agency will be responsible for launch advertising by this summer.
Whether Kowloon will work for Porsche again is unknown. Asked whether the agency would work again with the automaker if Porsche solicited them, Sittig said, "We'll cross that bridge if we ever get to it."
As far as Porsche is concerned, Kowloon is still on board. --with Aaron Baa