Car Toys Down to 3

The 42-store retail chain Car Toys is considering three finalists in a review for its TV creative account. Still in the running are WongDoody and Leonard Creative in Seattle and Big Ads in Portland, Ore.

The Seattle-based client, which offers mobile electronics and wireless phones, had worked with crosstown agency Publicis for roughly a year until the two parted ways in March.

Car Toys awarded its estimated $7 million-plus TV media account to DDB, Seattle, last month [Adweek, May 22]. The agency did not pitch the creative portion.

The client is looking for “someone who understands the retail environment and can take what shoddy little information we give them and not look to create ads as much as look to create customers,” said Car Toys creative director Steve Swenson, who is overseeing the review.

The TV creative budget was undisclosed. “Whatever company we partner with will be involved in helping determine what the best use of funds is,” said Swenson.

Many of the agencies Car Toys approached chose not to pitch creative, perhaps due to a perceived lack of creative opportunity, Swenson acknowledged. The company issued 23 RFPs and received 12 responses.

“We are a retailer,” Swenson said. “Every day must be a day where we make good sales. We’re not trying to win anybody any awards for creative. We want memorable ads and we want to connect emotionally with our target audience.”

Face-to-face meetings with the three finalists were scheduled to begin late last week. A decision could come as early as this week.