UPS Replaces Saab at Martin

Two agencies within the Lowe Group are swapping portions of their largest accounts.

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service has shifted the creative and strategic portions of its $80 million account from New York’s Lowe Lintas & Partners to The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. Lowe will retain media planning and buying duties.

At the same time, Lowe Lintas has picked up creative, strategic and account management duties for Saab Cars USA in Norcross, Ga., an account previously held by Martin.

“This shift is a nice example of how agencies within a holding company can deliver a lot of value to clients,” said Martin chairman John Adams. “In both cases what was needed was a change in resources. We were able to deliver that.”

Continued Adams, “UPS is in love with Lowe’s media team, but feels it needs a new look at the branding and strategic level.”

Martin initiated its relationship with UPS last summer, when it executed creative assignments for the client’s Nascar promotion.

“We had great success with the promotions produced during the actors strike,” said agency president and creative director Mike Hughes. He was referring to commercials featuring Nascar driver Dale Jarrett fending off a UPS flack who wants him to race one of the delivery service’s brown trucks instead of his own car.

Sources have suggested that UPS is using the Interpublic Group shops as “interim agencies” and is preparing for a review. UPS spokesperson Susan Rosenberg said, “There is no full-scale review at this time.”

She added that UPS is not looking for a new positioning or theme, but the look and feel of the advertising will continue to evolve.

In addition to existing creative work and direct mail, Martin’s assignment will involve developing a strategy for the overall U.S. presence of the brand. International advertising remains at McCann-Erickson, another unit of IPG.

In January, Martin, which developed its “Versus” campaign for Saab Cars USA, saw that account go to sister shop Lowe Brindfors in Stockholm, Sweden, the client’s global agency of record. Lowe Brindfors was to have opened an Atlanta office to service the account, but the client gave the $65 million business to Lowe Lintas in New York, which handles GMC Trucks. Saab USA is a unit of General Motors. Martin will continue to handle Saab’s direct and relationship marketing duties in the U.S.