Porsche In Reverse

‘Virtual’ Concept Could Nullify Review Plans
LOS ANGELES–Agencies longing for a shot at Porsche Cars North America’s estimated $15 million account are in for a long wait.
The sports car maker has postponed its planned agency search until the second half of 1999 at the earliest, and may not review at all, said Joel Ewanick, general manger of marketing for Porsche. “There is no review, and we have no intention of conducting a review any time in the near future,” he said.
Porsche is considering a number of options for next year, one of which is to launch a formal agency search. Another is to adopt a “virtual” ad strategy, Ewanick said, and assign creative projects to one or two select shops on a project basis.
“One of the cons [of the “virtual” approach] is you lose continuity,” he said. “On the other hand, it would give us more flexibility.”
The luxury sports car maker has been “inundated” with proposals from roughly 150 agencies since Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, resigned the business in January after handling it for five years, said Ewanick.
Goodby has continued to handle creative duties, however, and is working on projects that should take the client through early next year.
Creative Media in New York will continue to handle media planning and buying, said Ewanick. Consultant Cheryl Kroyer, former media director at Goodby, has been brought in to work on the media portion of the account, he added.
New models such as the Boxster helped Porsche’s North American sales jump 87 percent in 1997. It is expecting a similar boost this year as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The company spent $17 million on ads in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.–with Andrew McMains