Thrifty $13 mil review open, Budget's larger one narrows

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Thrifty Car Rental, which has joined rival Budget Rent a Car in shopping for new ad agencies, is hoping to name a shop for its $13 million account by the end of August.

Thrifty is using the Advertising Agency Register, New York, to conduct the review.

Incumbent Ackerman McQueen, Tulsa, Okla., resigned the account in frustration and said it isn't participating.

Bozell, Chicago, and N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York, have responded to the request for proposals.

Agency executives said they grappled with the client for several months on creative. Exec VP Melanie Hill said the handwriting was on the wall when Thrifty rejected Ackerman's offer to pay $500,000 to produce new creative work the shop felt was strong.

Ms. Hill said she didn't know whether the rift was tied to Chrysler Corp.'s spin-off last fall of Thrifty with Dollar Rent A Car as a public company. Dollar's agency is Earle Palmer Brown, Philadelphia.


Budget, meanwhile, expects to name a new agency for its $50 million to $60 million account July 9, after a second round of presentations July 7 and 8.

Finalists, all Chicago shops, are Publicis Hal Riney & Partners/Heartland, Euro RSCG Tatham, Grant/Jacoby and Cramer-Krasselt.

Budget VP-Marketing Mike Gavelek said the company wasn't worried about a potential conflict for previous agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston--which handles the AutoNation USA used-car chain--but rather "just wanted a Chicago agency."

Budget sells used cars at 30 stores, and recently acquired a trio of new-car dealerships. They will be added to the rental-car account.


In addition to creative and loyalty marketing, the new agency will help determine how to integrate the various divisions under the Budget name, Mr. Gavelek said.

Ford Motor Co. sold Budget to its largest franchisee, Budget Group, last year, and the new parent also operates airport parking lots and van pool services.

Last week, it acquired truck-renter Ryder in a cash-and-stock deal. D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., has handled Ryder since January.

Media buying for the various Budget businesses may be consolidated.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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