Earl Scheib to Get a Fresh Coat

A cold call led Mosaic Retail Advertising to the creative portion of Earl Scheib’s $4 million account.

After learning that the 64-year-old automobile-painting specialist planned to restructure, Mosaic president Bob Charney called to offer his services. “I read an article in the newspaper about the impending restructuring and the things they were looking to do,” he said. “Because we specialize in retail, I believed we were uniquely suited to do that.”

Following a meeting with Charney, Earl Scheib CEO Chris Bement shifted the creative work without a review from an in-house team to Mosaic, a 10-person shop just three doors down from the client in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

“We recently felt we weren’t getting enough creative out of our own department,” said Bement. “We finally came to the conclusion that if we could outsource, the entire function would be better off.”

He added that Earl Scheib’s six-person ad department is now down to two through layoffs and attrition. Media buying will remain in-house.

Mosaic, which has $10 million in billings and handles such clients as the Thousand Oaks Auto Mall, Neftin Westlake Cars, San Jose British Motors and Al’s Garden Art, will provide strategic, promotional and community outreach services and seek strategic alliances for Earl Scheib. It will also create print and radio ads and direct mail pieces.

The move comes as Earl Scheib is closing outlets in markets where it operates only one shop or where business is frequently affected by poor weather. The company, which now has 135 shops across the U.S. and $54 million in annual sales, is focusing on attracting customers in the Southwest and West.

“We’re trying to broaden our customer base,” Bement said. “Earl Scheib historically has been known for inexpensive [total] paint jobs and value for what you get.”

Several years ago, the company upgraded from enamel paint to more expensive acrylic polyurethane paint and expanded its offerings to include spot jobs and color matching. One segment Bement said could benefit from such services are people returning leased vehicles.

Mosaic’s first ads for Earl Scheib are expected to break in February.

While the company once pitched its services with the slogan “$29.95, any car, any color,” prices have increased substantially over the years. Even so, Bement said the ads will continue to tout aggressive price points. “We always have some kind of discount in our ads,” he said.