BUDGET PARKS $35 MILLION ACCOUNT AT RINEY OFFICE: CAR RENTER SAYS MEDIA BUYING MAY FOLLOW SOON

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Budget Rent A Car awarded creative on its $30 million to $35 million account to Publicis Hal Riney & Partners/Heartland, Chicago, late last week, and at press time was leaning toward giving media buying to the agency as well, said CEO Sanford Miller.

A decision on media will come quickly, he said.

RINEY MET MAIN CRITERIA

Riney bested Cramer-Krasselt and Grant/Jacoby, both Chicago, to win creative. Mr. Miller said the winner met Budget's main criteria: a dedicated account person and demonstrated flexibility on communicating the marketer's messages.

Still up for grabs is Budget's $20 million Yellow Pages account, which will probably involve other agencies, said Mr. Miller. That review hasn't started.

The business going to Riney includes Budget's recently acquired new-car dealerships-two Ford and one Chrysler. Budget wants to expand that side of the business.

Ford Motor Co. sold Budget to Mr. Miller, its largest franchisee, last year. Seventy percent of Budget's rental cars are Fords.

But Mr. Miller said he wants only five dealerships and doesn't see a conflict with the fact that Riney's San Francisco office handles General Motors Corp.'s Saturn national advertising and regional dealer accounts.

"Our new-car sales are ancillary," he said. "We have 30 used-car stores."

A Saturn spokeswoman also said the car marketer doesn't expect Riney's win to have any impact on its business because the bulk of Saturn's work is done in the San Francisco office.

THIRD SHOP IN 3 YEARS

Riney is Budget's third agency in as many years. Incumbent Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, had the account since January 1997; it did not participate in the review because the client said it wanted a Chicago shop. Before Hill Holliday, DDB Needham Worldwide, Dallas, had the account, which it resigned.

Mr. Miller said it's unfair to assume Budget jumps from shop to shop. Ford tapped Hill Holliday six months before selling the company, he explained. And DDB Needham inherited the account when it absorbed Tracy-Locke in 1993.

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