Midas May Shift Ad Account, Again

Management changes at Midas, along with disagreements over branding strategy with lead shop Foote, Cone & Belding, have prompted the client to solicit agency credentials, possibly moving toward its second review in 14 months, sources said.
The Chicago-based auto-repair chain in recent weeks has contacted a number of agencies in Chicago and New York about the creative portion of its $45 million account, sources said. One source expected a list of finalists shortly, followed by presentations. Others indicated that Midas executives are still considering their options.
A client representative said the company had “no announcement regarding its advertising agency.” An FCB representative said the shop, which won the account in August 1997, was unaware of any change in its relationship with the client.
Media buying, now at TN Media in Chicago, is not thought to be affected by the creative search.
Management changes at Midas since FCB’s win may have contributed to the latest round of scrutiny. D. Bruce Hutchison took over as vice president of U.S. marketing in August. Hutchison, who worked at Thomson Multimedia and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Detroit, reports to James Hamrick, senior vice president of merchandising, who joined the company from rival car repair chain Pep Boys.
One source indicated that FCB has also has had problems selling a branding platform to the client.
After a quarter-decade with McCann- Erickson, the Midas account has bounced around a bit in recent years. FCB won a showdown with DDB Needham Chicago for the business. JWT had resigned the account, citing a conflict with Ford, less than two years after winning a review that also included DDB Needham as a finalist. DDB in April won the Pep Boys account.