FCB Direct gets Amoco Auto Club, AARP Auto Club, Montgomery Ward Auto Club, Signature Auto Club and Mobil Auto Club, which comprise a total of $20 million in spending. Grey Direct takes the $15 million dental and health services business, an assignment that includes direct mail, direct-response print and database modeling.
'A BRAND STRATEGY'
"They're going to take on a brand strategy," said Worthington Linen, chairman-CEO at Signature Group.
He said the direct mail and direct-response TV from FCB Direct would bow this summer.
Dental & More, the name of the health business, markets discount dental services, vision, pharmaceutical, chiropractic and hearing aid products primarily through partnerships with national credit cards.
Grey is "looking at branding and a whole member-retention project" for the health services, Mr. Linen said. "Our strategy is to be a private-label provider working with a major national brand, like Citibank, but also working independently as a brand."
Mr. Linen said the main challenge with the five auto clubs, whose combined members total 5 million, is to come up with a consistent brand strategy. He would like to streamline the five motor clubs, including perhaps using fewer than five distinct brands.
"We're hoping to have less than five soon," he noted, adding that FCB would address the need for precise targeting.
"Right now, the strategy is defined [in response to No. 1 auto club] AAA in terms of pricing and benefits," he said. "Our thrust is going to be in addition to brand-to take apart product attributes [of each auto club] and examine how they appeal to different audiences."
WINNING WITH DATA MODELING
Data modeling was a big factor in FCB Direct's effort during the pitch process.
"We looked at how to incrementally fine-tune their business, and then we stepped back from it to find out where they were not seeing the woods for the trees," said Clive McLean, managing director of FCB Direct in Chicago. "They gave us a lot of data and complete access to their businesses" during the pitch.
He said he wants to take the core of Signature's auto club business and "make it more efficient with insightful creative and better targeting."
Mr. Linen said Signature may do some future work with Townsend Agency, Chicago, for one of its nine other products.
"We were very impressed by them," he said.
PARING THE LIST
The review, which began late last year with seven agencies, was winnowed down in January to FCB; Grey; Townsend; and Blau Marketing Technologies, Chicago.
Signature, one of the largest direct marketers of automobile clubs and insurance in the U.S., and the direct-marketing arm of Montgomery Ward & Co., was acquired by GE Capital Services in February. Montgomery Ward is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, although a plan involving the GE deal currently is awaiting regulatory approval.
Once the GE Capital deal is approved, Mr. Linen said, Signature would be a