Just 10 days into his post as senior VP-marketing and advertising, Mr. Lillian announced that Jiffy Lube, a subsidiary of Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., had hired Richards Group, Dallas, replacing Smith Agency, Kansas City, Mo.
And Mr. Lillian, 43, already has been on a road trip to talk with Jiffy Lube franchisees about stepped-up marketing for the oil-change chain.
THE FIRST STEP
"The first step has been listening to where the successes are with our partners and where the opportunities are to [expand them] to the system," he said. "We need to be of one soul as to what the message should be that we're sending out as a system."
Mr. Lillian came to Jiffy Lube from Spriritismo, an Austin, Texas, brand-management company he founded. He served as VP-national marketing for the Pizza Hut division of PepsiCo from 1996-98, after holding management positions in PepsiCo's fast-growing Sabritas division in Mexico City, and with PepsiCo Foods International.
Mr. Lillian is taking a newly created position; Jiffy Lube has not had an executive in charge of advertising for more than a year.
The December 1998 merger of Pennzoil Products Co. and Quaker State created the opportunity for Jiffy Lube to be a larger player in national advertising, he said. Jiffy Lube is converting more than 600 of Quaker State's Q-Lube oil-change shops, giving it a total of about 2,100 stores and about 15% of the national quick oil-change market.
"With our new scale and the new direction we set, it's going to make sense for our system to speak louder," he said.
Jiffy Lube officials have said the chain's spending could hit $50 million next year, compared to $11.4 million in measured media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. For the first half of 1999, Jiffy Lube spent $9.2 million.
Ad strategy is coming in part from a yearlong research effort done with Faith Popcorn's consumer trend consultancy Brain Reserve, Mr. Lillian said. New advertising is likely to emphasize added-value offerings.
"I don't think image advertising alone, in a category as functional as we are, is going to cut it," he said.
The offerings are more likely to be alliances with related national businesses than price deals on services, Mr. Lillian said. As an example, he said, summer vacation packages could be promoted in stores during the spring.
"Now we can begin to do the things that a national player in this industry can do," he said. "We can offer a national system to a partner of a national scale."
Quality of service will be crucial, he adds, citing his experience with similar competitive pressures in the pizza industry.
"Both industries went through a period of heavy discounting as a way for one competitor to try to punish another," he said. "The only way to win in a highly competitive business like that is to make your services more valuable. If the