WestWayne Changes Upset NAPA

Saying that numerous management changes at WestWayne have shaken its faith in its creative agency, NAPA has put that portion of its estimated $25 million account in review.

“[WestWayne] has had a lot of senior changes of people working on our account, and we want to make sure that we’re getting the level of service that we should,” said Patricia White, retail marketing manager for NAPA (National Automotive Parts Association).

White said the incumbent has been invited to defend the business. A WestWayne representative confirmed that the shop’s Atlanta office would participate in the review.

White said that she had been “contacted by practically every agency in Atlanta” about the account, which the client “would prefer to keep in Atlanta.”

NAPA has reached out to several agencies, White said, including Sawyer Riley Compton here. She said Fahlgren, which handles the Atlanta-based chain’s media and online advertising, has been invited to participate in the creative review.

Fahlgren handles the retailer’s media in Atlanta, but creative work is coordinated through the shop’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. A Fahlgren spokes-person in Atlanta said the agency would pitch to win all duties on the account.

WestWayne produced numerous TV executions for NAPA last year, including an Indiana Jones-style spot that starred a NAPA service rep climbing all over a moving SUV to find a problem. Another ad dropped a NAPA battery off a skyscraper into a New York taxi to show the resiliency of the product.

Most recently, the brand’s ads have taken a serious turn. A soft-focus, pre-Super Bowl commercial stressed using NAPA products to ensure a loved one’s safety.

“Nobody here has any complaints about the quality of [creative] work we’re get-ting [from WestWayne],” White told Adweek.

Other than to confirm the agency will defend the account, WestWayne officials would not comment.

Separately, WestWayne may also be on the verge of splitting with the University of Phoenix (Ariz.), a national continuing education program. The agency won creative duties on the purported $17 million account last summer, but has produced minimal advertising for the client. Competitive Media Reporting cites 1999 ad spending at $2 million; $1.1 million through May 2000.

The school did not return calls.