Red Bull Hands Media to Lunch, Its Creative Shop

Lunch Advertising, formed last year to handle creative for the Red Bull energy drink, has snagged the client’s U.S. media business from Carat.

Red Bull vp of marketing David Rohdy confirmed the move, saying it was for “strategic” reasons. He declined to elaborate, but did say it does not signal dissatisfaction with Carat, Los Angeles. Representatives at Carat, which had the account for four years, did not return calls.

Red Bull spoke informally with a number of agencies before choosing its Santa Monica, Calif.-based creative shop, sources said.

The client is expected to increase its ad budget from $35 million in 2001 to $65 million-plus in 2002, sources said. The boost is believed to be due to its anticipated move from spot-market to network broadcast.

Red Bull spent $19 million on media in 2000, and almost $12 million through May 2001, per CMR.

Media director Hal Carlson, who joined Lunch in April from Ground Zero, said the shop had suggested taking on planning “so we can be at the table with the other disciplines at the beginning of strategic discussions.” Red Bull later offered the shop buying duties, too, Carlson said.

Lunch takes over planning immediately. It has also hired associate media director Nan Vaughn Paturzo from neoBrands; director of national broadcast Judy Thomas from Focus Media; director of local broadcast Terri Fox Gray from TBS Media Management; strategist Kate Heydlauff Kirkman from AKQA; and planners Belinda Sue from Ground Zero and Matt Bouyea from WongDoody.

Local buyers are expected to be added at Lunch’s Chicago, New York and Miami offices.

Lunch has contributed ideas to Red Bull agency Kastner & Partner in Frankfurt, Germany; Lunch’s first ads will air later this year. It has also been handling events and promotions since winning the account last year.

Red Bull comprises 90 percent of Lunch’s billings. The shop expects to grow from 30 to 45 staffers by year’s end.