Auto Club Group Eyes JWT

CHICAGO The Auto Club Group, a consortium of six American Automobile Associations in the Midwest, is in negotiations with WPP Group’s JWT about taking over its estimated $15 million advertising account, according to a client representative.

The client’s previous agency, Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding, resigned the business owing to a potential conflict arising from its pending merger with sister shop Draft.

A Draft representative confirmed the shop had resigned the account, but would not disclose the conflict, which is believed to be State Farm Insurance. The Auto Club Group and State Farm both offer automotive insurance, creating a conflict, according to sources.

FCB won the account last October after a review that included JWT and independent agency Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. The Dearborn, Mich., company represents AAA clubs in eight states: Illinois, northern Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Billings for the account were not disclosed. The client spent $15 million on advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.