Isuzu Jumps From Goodby to Midwest Retail Shop

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which won Isuzu’s account more than a decade ago and recently brought back its smarmy spokes man Joe Isuzu, has parted ways with the client.

Malone Advertising in Akron, Ohio, picked up the $15 million account thanks to long memories and short budgets at the auto maker. The retail specialty shop, which claims about $9 million in annual revenue, replaced Goodby last week without a review. Malone worked with Isuzu for six months in 1991 as a transition between Chiat/Day and Goodby.

As the car maker sought to reverse slumping sales this summer, client executives including Terry Maloney, now president of American Isuzu Motors, recalled Malone’s work from 11 years ago, said agency president Fred Bidwell and an Isuzu representative.

“They called us,” Bidwell said. “It’s a refreshing experience.”

Isuzu initially wanted to discuss retail strategies and didn’t plan to replace Goodby, said client representative Chip Lezgus. However, after presentations from Malone, the decision was made to go to a straight retail approach. With that, Goodby was cut loose, Malone was hired and work commenced on a value-centered retail campaign set to debut early next year.

“The strategy is to bring it back to the basics, let people know the value that’s there,” Bidwell said. “We don’t have the budget to create an emotional bond.”

The loss is not expected to have a major affect on Goodby, sources said. Goodby picked up the $300 million-plus Saturn account in February and has since added numerous jobs. Staffing levels are expected to remain at roughly 350 employees.

Goodby had been bracing for a split for some time, sources said, as Isuzu spent just $17 million on advertising through July of this year. That marked a significant drop from 2001, when the client spent roughly $60 million for the year.

Goodby president Colin Probert could not be reached for comment.