Pep Boys Drops The Richards Group

DALLAS Pep Boys has pulled its ad account from The Richards Group and will handle the work in-house, the client has confirmed.

A representative for the Philadelphia-based automotive aftermarket chain said the decision is part of the company’s new communications strategy but declined to elaborate further. Agency executives declined comment.

Pep Boys has spent $35 million on ads this year through September, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the same amount it spent during all of last year. Richards handled both creative and media chores.

Independent Richards picked up the business in December 2001 soon after Jeff Palmer, a former Home Depot marketing executive, joined Pep Boys as senior vice president of marketing and advertising. Palmer left Pep Boys over a year ago.

The Dallas agency did not participate in the review for Travelocity’s $30 million account, which shifted to Havas’ McKinney + Silver in Raleigh, N.C., in late October. Nokia two weeks ago placed its $35 million account into review, and Richards has said it will not defend.