Jiffy Lube’s in a Hurry

Jiffy Lube is seeking a new agency to handle its $18 million account after parting ways with The Richards Group.

The arrival of Anne Tawney in January as the client’s new senior vice president of marketing precipitated the split with the Dallas agency, sources said. Tawney most recently served as a marketing consultant to NewPower, a division of Enron in Houston.

Thirteen requests for proposals were issued nationwide. No outside consultant is being used in the agency search.

Late last week, Houston-based Jiffy Lube was in the process of narrowing the field to a handful of finalists. The process will be swift, according to Tawney, who said Jiffy Lube wants a new agency in place by next month.

“We have an opportunity in that we are in the middle of a brand repositioning study and I think it’s a great opportunity to get new perspectives,” Tawney said.

“The Richards Group is a great agency,” she added. “I just think there’s an opportunity to branch out.”

Conspicuously absent from the list of contenders is GSD&M of Austin, Texas, which currently handles the client’s media buying and creative work for its lubricant brands. The agency has a roster conflict with Wal-Mart, which also has an automotive service division, and is unable to extend the Jiffy Lube relationship further.

Jiffy Lube, owned by Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., is the largest automotive lube chain in the country. It currently operates more than 2,140 outlets.