AFL&C to the Rescue — HQ Breaks New-Business Dry Spell

Symbolic of where the agency is headed, Arnold Fortuna Lawner & Cabot/Boston last week won the estimated $10-million broadcast and outdoor account for Home Quarters Warehouse, based in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Home Quarters win is the first significant piece of new business AFL&C has won since chairman Ed Eskandarian begin buying and merging agencies three years ago. While the agency has continued to expand the number of McDonald’s co-ops it handles, pitching new accounts had not been a priority. Now that the pieces of his agency puzzle are assembled, Eskandarian said, winning new business is the mission.
AFL&C beat Bernstein Rein in Kansas City, Mo., in the final round of a review for the home-improvement chain. Saffer Advertising/Toronto had handled broadcast work for HQ, creating the well-known ‘HQ to the Rescue’ TV and radio campaign. Mutual Marketing/Weymouth, Mass., will keep the print portion of HQ’s account, which includes newspaper inserts and a variety of other projects.
HQ, a division of Hechinger Co., also of Virginia Beach, Va., is one of the nation’s largest home-improvement center retailers. HQ operates 45 stores in 13 states, including six stores in New England.
Arnold & Co. and Della Femina McNamee – two of the Boston agencies Eskandarian melded into AFL&C – had been HQ contenders in a 1990 review.
AFL&C spokesman Matt Bannister said that earlier review experience helped AFL&C this time around. ‘We kept in contact with Home Quarters (and were familiar with their needs),’ he said. The agency’s holdings in Richmond, Va., – notably Finnegan & Agee and its proposed buyout of Hawley Martin – weren’t major factors in the win. ‘Our status in the region helped,’ Bannister said. ‘But it wasn’t decisive since the main work will be done out of here (Boston).’
Along with the HQ win, AFL&C direct-marketing arm Orsatti & Parrish recently announced the acquisition of the $11-13 million account of The Associates, a Dallas-based consumer finance group that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Co.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)