AutoNation Splits Media Buys

AutoNation USA last week divided its broadcast media buying assignment between two New York-based services, leaving Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos here about $30 million lighter in billings.
The used car superstore chain owned by Republic Industries in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., continues to work with Hill, Holliday on creative assignments. That portion of the account is not likely to change, according to Fred Zuckerman, vice president and director of media services at AutoNation USA.
Hill, Holliday declined an invitation to participate in the client’s media review, Zuckerman said.
According to Hill, Holliday executive vice president Mark Richardson who oversees the AutoNation account, “The bid process was just not attractive to the way we work.”
The agency has an eight-person service office in Fort Lauderdale for AutoNation and other clients. No staff cutbacks are anticipated, Rich-ardson said. Hill, Holliday has worked for the auto retailer since its first site in southern Florida opened more than four years ago.
KSL Media in New York was contracted to buy media in 10 markets while Horizon Media will be responsible for the remaining five territories. KSL employs 150 and has offices in five cities including Fort Lauderdale and Boston. Other clients include Revlon, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, Outback Steakhouse and Countrywide Home Loans.
AutoNation retains Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., for outdoor ad placements. Newspaper Service of America handles newspaper buying and planning duties.
The review was conducted by Zuckerman, who formerly held the top media planning post at Harris Drury Cohen in Fort Lauderdale. Zuckerman was recruited to AutoNation by senior vice president of marketing John Drury, a former HDC principal.