Pep Boys Signs Up With Zimmerman

Auto-Parts Chain Aims at New Marketing Goals as It Restructures

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Auto-parts retailer and service chain Pep Boys has handed its $85 million marketing account to Omnicom Group's Zimmerman Advertising following a review.
Pep Boys spent $85 million on marketing last year.
Pep Boys spent $85 million on marketing last year.

Philadelphia-based Pep Boys, which has about 560 locations nationwide, has been absent an agency of record for a number of years. Its last AOR was independent shop Richards Group, Dallas, where Pep Boys in 2001 shifted the account, though Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group had been tapped to handle some project work in the interim, Pep Boys executives said.

As part of the two-month-long quiet pitch, Pep Boys, which spent $85 million on marketing last year, reached out to "a handful" of agencies, said Scott Webb, who joined Pep Boys as senior VP-merchandising and marketing in September after a 22-year career at rival AutoZone. There was no consultant for the review.

Off to Florida
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Zimmerman, Pep Boys joins a client roster that includes Nissan, Crocs and restaurant chain Friendly's.

The agency will produce radio, TV and business-to-business work, and will also handle Hispanic marketing duties. Print duties, however, will remain in-house, the retailer and agency said.

First work is expected to break this summer, said Michael Goldberg, executive VP-chief marketing officer at Zimmerman.

The appointment of a new agency partner comes as the retailer embarks on a restructuring plan for its business and as it alters its marketing strategy to target local markets and focus on key demographics, such as women.

"We've got an objective to treat every market as if it's our only market," said Mr. Webb, adding: "Our entire space is not as female-friendly as it could be, and we realize that the automobile purchase decision -- while we don't sell cars -- has significant influence from women, and the automotive-repair industry has as well."
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