Agencies, Start Your Engines

Southeast Toyota Distributors Puts $70 Mil. Account Into Review
ATLANTA–The Southeast Toyota Distributors has put its $70 million advertising account into review.
The action is an attempt to refocus the Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based group’s marketing efforts. Four incumbent agencies are currently working with Southeast Toyota Distributors and its affiliated dealership associations.
“Our client wants a full-service, integrated marketing communications partner, said Linda Urben-Peterson, marketing services partner at AAR/Bob Wolf Partners, the New York and Los Angeles consultancy conducting the review, “an agency that can work effectively regionally and locally.”
The incumbents, Saatchi & Saatchi (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Omni Automotive (Birmingham, Ala.), McGee & Starr Advertising (Boca Raton, Fla.) and the Moran Group (Baton Rouge, La.), will be invited to participate.
Sources said the dealership associations were unhappy with Saatchi’s work in the past.
“A client is not going to call if [it] didn’t want to investigate other capable agencies,” said a source privy to the decision-making process. “You don’t spend all that time and money.”
The review is expected be completed this fall.
Saatchi & Saatchi has been the dealerships’ lead shop since the early 1990s, as well as the advertising agency of record for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
Matt O’Mara, managing director of Saatchi’s Fort Lauderdale office, said he has hired a new creative director, Doug Van Andel, and will eagerly pursue the account.
“Given the competitive nature of our industry and the rapid and complex changes facing automotive marketers, we feel now is the time to work with our dealers to consolidate our advertising dollars and deliver a more focused and appealing message,” said Ed Sheehy, vice president of marketing at Southeast Toyota Distributors (STD).
The bottom line, said another manager involved in the review, is to drive sales from 207,000 units to 225,000 in the next fiscal year.
STD describes itself as the world’s largest franchised distributor of Toyotas. It is subsidiary of JM Family Enterprises Inc. in Deerfield Beach, a $6.6 billion diversified corporation.
Nearly one-fifth of the Toyotas sold in the U.S. are moved through STD. Its distribution network encompasses Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. K