Southeast Toyota Distributors Has 6 Semifinalists

Six semifinalists have emerged in the battle for Southeast Toyota Distributors’ $70 million advertising account.
“We’re visiting the semifinalist agencies right now,” said Bob Wolf, managing partner of AAR/Bob Wolf Partners, the New York consultancy leading the review. “We’ll name three or four finalists next week.”
The contenders are incumbents Saatchi & Saatchi of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Omni Automotive in Birmingham, Ala., plus WestWayne in Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., and Gotham, Grey Worldwide and Della Femina/Jeary and Partners, all in New York.
“All the semi-finalists have been absolutely enthusiastic,” said Wolf. “They see this account as a great opportunity to be in the car business or get back into it.”
The New York-based semifinalists have agreed to open Florida offices should any of them win.
Saatchi & Saatchi has been the dealership’s lead shop since the early 1990s, as well as the agency of record for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “We’re feeling excellent,” said Matt O’Mara, managing director of Saatchi’s Fort Lauderdale office. “We’re absolutely in the hunt.”
The client put the account, which had been serviced by three Southeast agencies–Omni Automotive, McGee & Starr Advertising in Boca Raton, Fla., and the Moran Group in Baton Rouge, La.–into review last spring.
According to Ed Sheehy, vice president of marketing at Southeast Toyota Distributors, management wanted “to consolidate our advertising dollars and deliver a more focused and appealing message.”
Southeast Toyota is a subsidiary of JM Family Enterprises, a $6.6 billion diversified automotive corporation.
The client, based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., describes itself as the largest franchised distributor of Toyotas in the world.