Having Made Several Acquisitions, Alamo Rent A Car Goes Shopping

Alamo Rent A Car last week began contacting agencies across the country about its ad account, which has been handled by Hal Riney & Partners for the past decade.
It could not be determined at press time whether the San Francisco-based incumbent would defend the business. Riney executives could not be reached; a representative at the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., company declined comment.
Alamo’s in-house shop, Tower Advertising Group in Ft. Lauderdale sent out the requests for proposals, sources said. Agencies interested in pitching were instructed to return responses to Ana Rojas-Filliben, a senior director at Tower. She could not be reached on Friday. Questionnaires are due back at the end of September, sources said. Final presentations are scheduled for mid-October.
The company spent about $20 million on advertising in 1995, but spending has dropped since then. Last year, the ad budget was about $12 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Some $6 million has been spent this year. Sources said the company is expected to boost its budget significantly next year.
Alamo is owned by Republic Industries, a conglomerate run by chairman and co-chief executive H. Wayne Huizenga. The company also owns Value Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. Huizenga bought all three companies in the last year to funnel cars into Republic’s AutoNation used car superstores. Alamo, Value and National have been combined under a division headed by William Lobeck, who owned National before selling to Huizenga.
Agency principal Hal Riney’s strong relationship with Alamo senior management was weakened when the company was acquired and new managers took over, sources said. Riney’s folksy ads have changed little since the shop won the business, and marketing executives were interested in using more edgy, up-to-date ideas, sources said.
Alamo is the fourth-largest car rental company in the U.S. –with staff reports