Porsche and San Francisco-based Goodby, which had handled the $10 million account since 1993, parted ways over differences about "account operations, not creativity," the automaker said in a statement. In addition, Porsche, whose marketing operations have been run independently of those of its German parent, had increasingly come under pressure to adopt global ad templates, one executive familiar with the account said.
Porsche officials were unavailable for comment. But the automaker's statement said it would not be looking for a new agency until late in the spring, following the relocation to Atlanta.
NEW TV SPOT FOR 911
Goodby will continue for an unspecified period to work on TV and print advertising, including a spot for the new 911, Porsche's first complete redesign of the model in the company's 34-year history.
When Goodby picked up the account, Porsche's U.S. sales had plunged from a mid-1980s peak of 30,471 to 3,729 as sport-utility vehicles replaced sports cars as status symbols.
"We were seen as very cold and kind of old," Joel Ewanick, general marking manager of Porsche Cars North America, told Advertising Age last summer. He credited the agency with helping Porsche become a more approachable, friendly brand through humorous spots that focused on people as much as cars.
Last year, Porsche sales were 12,976, up from 7,152 in 1996. The increase primarily was due to the introduction of Porsche's first new model in 19 years, the Boxster.
Spending on the account fluctuated between $5 million and $10 million in recent years.