Wawa Narrows Search

LOS ANGELES Convenience store chain Wawa has named eight semifinalists in the review for its advertising account, according to Select Resources International, which is leading the search.

Agencies that have advanced are Havas’ McKinney + Silver in Raleigh, N.C.; and independent shops Adworks in Washington, D.C.; Blattner Brunner and MARC, both in Pittsburgh; Eisner Communications in Baltimore; Gardner Nelson & Partners in New York; Gyro in Philadelphia; and The Richards Group in Dallas and New York, the consultant said.

The creative incumbent, Ritter Inc. in King of Prussia, Pa., is not participating in the review. While the Wawa, Pa.-based client is also looking at media capabilities of contending agencies, it may decide to continue working with the current media agency, MayoSeitz Media in Blue Bell, Pa., or launch a separate media review, according to Russel Wohlwerth, principal of SRI in West Hollywood, Calif.

Billings are undisclosed. The chain in Wawa, Pa., spent nearly $7 million on ads in 2002 and more than $3 million through August of this year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Chemistry checks and capabilities presentations are expected to take place in early December. Following creative presentations by finalists, a decision is expected in mid-January.

Wawa is a privately held company that has 540 Wawa Food Markets throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Approximately 140 of those stores also sell Wawa-branded gasoline.