Tireless ’til the End

Zimmerman Perseveres to Win Continental
ATLANTA–After a lengthy review, Continental General Tire of Charlotte, N.C., has assigned its ad account to The Zimmerman Agency.
The Tallahassee, Fla., shop emerged the winner in a shootout for the $8.5-10 million business over Doe- Anderson Advertising and Public Relations of Louisville, Ky.
The five-month review began with 16 contenders. That field was reduced to seven and then two in a process that ran two to three weeks behind schedule. The finalists gave a pair of presentations–the first session almost four hours long–before hosting Continental’s senior executives at their offices two weeks ago.
“The process took a little bit longer [than we expected] because [senior management] wanted to . . . get involved and find out more about the agencies from a thinking perspective,” said Al Johnson, Continental’s advertising services manager.
Zimmerman will handle all national branding for the product lines of Continental Tires and General Tires, as well as for Continental General Tire Co. The client’s commercial division for heavy machinery will be handled in-house.
Advertising will target retailers and distributors. Work for the two tire lines will target consumers via print, broadcast and promotions. The shop will also handle national public relations and all Internet activities.
“This isn’t a partnership just for the next year but for many years to come,” Johnson said. “In the end, [the review’s length] made everyone a little more comfortable with our final decision. No one is uncomfortable with the decision we’ve made now.”
Johnson said Zimmerman shared Continental’s corporate philosophies, and “their strengths in regard to creative, Internet and public relations really pulled them to the front. All the agencies were eager for the business, Zimmerman just seemed to want it a little bit more.”
Competitive Media Reporting shows Continental spent less than $250,000 on advertising in the last two years with incumbent Wolf Group of Toronto, which did not defend.
Agency principal Curtis Zimmerman said the budget is the tire retailer and manufacturer’s largest ever. Continental becomes his shop’s largest account, increasing billings by nearly 25 percent.
Two Charlotte agencies (and contenders in the review), Price/McNabb and Wray Ward Laseter, have been assigned duties by the client.