Toyota Goes to B’ham

The newly merged Intermark Gillis has added the Atlanta-area Toyota Dealer Association to its client roster.
The $7.5 million account represents 10 Toyota dealerships in the Atlanta metropolitan market. The business was awarded to the agency without a review, according to the shop’s chief executive officer, Billy Harvill.
The Birmingham, Ala., agency’s Import Marketing Services division will service the account. The unit already handles creative and media duties for six other Toyota dealer groups in the Southeast and Texas.
Harvill said the agency’s success in other markets helped Intermark Gillis get the nod. He also pointed to the buyatoyota.com Web site and a campaign that has been running in the Atlanta market since November.
“Prior to the print, billboard and television campaign, Toyota was just tagging its existing ads with the Web address,” said Jake McKenzie, director of the agency’s interactive division. “But once we advertised the site specifically, there was an increase from about 165 hits a day to over 14,000 hits a day. That certainly helped us get the additional work.”
The win is a quick shot in the arm for the agency, the product of a merger between Intermark Group and Gillis Advertising & Public Relations last November. Intermark was one of more than 60 U.S. shops adversely affected by General Motors’ 1998 decision to consolidate advertising at five regional agencies. It lost $25 million of Chevrolet’s Southeast dealership advertising business at that time.