FKM Is Back in Auto-Parts Game

Fogarty Klein Monroe has re-entered the automotive aftermarket retail category withits win of the estimated $55 mil-lion advertising ac-count of Advance Auto Parts.

The Houston agency won the creative and media duties of the national chain in a review that came down to co-finalists FKM and Cramer-Krasselt in Orlando, Fla., in late August.

Semifinalists for the Roanoke, Va.-based client’s business included Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo., Fletcher Martin Ewing of Atlanta and Martin/Williams in Minneapolis. The Richmond, Va., incumbent, The Martin Agency, did not participate.

Specifically, FKM will handle a number of duties for the client: branding, consumer and trade marketing, creative, media planning and buying, market intelligence and some local store marketing, the shop said in a statement.

“It’s all about bringing traffic to the stores while building and maintaining brand equity,” FKM president and chief creative officer Tom Monroe said in a statement.

It is unclear whether Advance, which targets both professional installers and do-it-yourselfers, will retain its tagline, “The best part is our people.”

The win comes just weeks after FKM lost the estimated $35 million general-market account of the Texas Lottery Commission. DDB Dallas is now negotiating a contract with the state group following a review.

The new business returns FKM to the auto-parts retail arena. The agency handled the account of Hi-Lo Automotive, now a unit of O’Reilly Automotive, from 1991-96.

Advance, the nation’s No. 2 auto-parts chain behind AutoZone of Memphis, Tenn., with 2,400 locations in 38 states, is expanding via acquisitions. Last November the company added 668 Discount Auto Parts stores, and in July it acquired about 50 Trak Auto Parts sites. It is currently converting and rebranding the acquired locations.

Sources said the company was looking for a strategy that would give it “one voice and positioning in the marketplace as they move forward” following the acquisitions.

The review often became muddled, sources said, as various executives presented different views about future positioning.

The estimated billings are significantly higher than past spending. Last year Advance spent $10 million on media, per CMR. —with Alicia Griswold and Aaron Baar