Omni Wins Houston Toyota Co-op

Omni Automotive has landed its first Texas client by winning a $7 million account representing 17 Toyota dealers in the Houston area.

Omni, a division of Birmingham, Ala.-based Intermark Group, competed for theHouston Power Team Toyota Dealer Association’s business against incumbent First Impressions Marketing and Advertising of Oklahoma City.

The incumbent agency had held the account for more than six years.

The winning shop succeeded in its pitch by presenting a marketing approach that emphasized trucks and sports utility vehicles, according to Omni marketing directorBill Marefka.

“Toyota is a leader in cars, and they wanted to push full tilt into a truck and SUV focus,” Marefka said. “Their agency would never come to the table with a truck plan. It beats me why.”

Said dealer association presi-dent Mike Calvert in a statement: “We really liked Omni’s pragmatic research-based ap-proach … Wewelcome the opportunity to work with such a leader in the [automotive advertising] industry.”

Omni’s duties will include branding, creative and media placement.

The advertising campaign will include an initiative focused on reaching Hispanic customers. Omni will team with Rio Bravo Pictures of Houston to produce ads targeted to the Latino audience.

Omni takes over the account this month, breaking a radio, television and newspaper campaign. The agency will open a field service office in Houston to provide local account management and media representation.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Billy Harvill, chief executive officer of Intermark Group. “This is our first account in the state of Texas, and we are looking forward to working there.”

Servicing automotive dealer co-ops is familiar ground for Omni, which also counts the Arkansas Toyota Dealer Association and the Hometown Mississippi Toyota Dealer Association among its clients.

Intermark Group is a full-service advertising, interactive communications and public relations organization that topped $60 million in billings last year. The holding company employs approximately 100 in five divisions: Omni Automotive, Intermark Gillis Public Relations, Intermark Gillis Advertising, Strong Automotive Advertising and Vazda Studios.