N.Y. Toyota Dealers Stay With Saatchi

NEW YORK Saatchi & Saatchi has retained creative duties on the $80 million Greater New York Toyota Dealers Association account, narrowly defeating Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos after a “very contentious” debate among dealers, sources said.

One source said Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi and Interpublic Groupe’s Hill, Holliday in New York were “tied” coming out of the pitch but in the end the dealers decided to “opt for something you know.” The shops both pitched out of their New York offices.

Saatchi and association president Dennis Lauzon could not be reached.

The other two finalists, Grey Global Group’s Grey and Wolf Group, both in New York, were eliminated prior to the final decision, according to sources. The pitches took place Tuesday and Wednesday, with three shops going on Tuesday and the incumbent going last, on Wednesday. Each shop got two hours to present to a client panel of about 20.

The dealer account is among Toyota’s largest in the country. Media duties, at Publicis’ Zenith Media in New York, were not in play.

The review was managed by New York consultancy Roth Associates, which did not return calls.

This story updates an item posted on July 30.