All Roads Lead To Tulsa’s Thrifty

Ackerman McQueen’s Resignation Cues Car Renter’s U.S. Search
DALLAS–Thrifty Car Rental is working with New York search firm Advertising Agency Register to find a shop to handle a $6 million marketing account resigned recently by Ackerman McQueen.
Tulsa, Okla.-based Thrifty will cull candidates from across the country to succeed Ackerman McQueen (AM), headquartered in Oklahoma City.
Sources said at least 20 shops will receive questionnaires.
The winning agency, to be selected in August, will be required to establish a Tulsa presence, said Tom DeNardin, vice president of marketing at Thrifty Car Rental.
According to the company, assignments will include broadcast and print creative work, trafficking, research and a portion of the media buying. Thrifty Car Rental would not disclose which media assignments are currently handled in-house.
Thrifty’s total advertising spending was $8.8 million in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Ackerman handled the account since 1995, when it picked up the creative portion of the business in a review against Bernstein-Rein of Kansas City and The Richards Group and Publicis/Bloom (now Publicis), both in Dallas. AM launched an image campaign in fall 1996 that added a brand focus beyond Thrifty’s traditional price positioning.
Ackerman McQueen chairman Angus McQueen said his shop resigned the account after coming to a “creative impasse” with Thrifty.
According to sources, AM offered to front production costs of nearly $250,000 and allow Thrifty to test a new campaign, but was turned down.
“We talked about it,” said DeNardin. “We felt it wasn’t a campaign that positioned Thrifty in a direction where we wanted to go.”
McQueen termed the parting amicable and said the agency would continue working with Thrifty Car Rental through August.
The account resignation comes just a few weeks after Ackerman McQueen client Premier Parks assigned $40-45 million in marketing duties for Six Flags Theme Parks to the agency. Premier’s total billings through AM (and the agency’s spot television buying partner Western International Media) stand at about $70 million, according to McQueen.