Think: L.A. Gets CarsDirect.com, N.Y. Merges




New Client Worth $30 Mil; AnswerThink Deal Finally Goes Ahead
LOS ANGELES–CarsDirect.com, an Internet car buying service, has tapped Think New Ideas as its lead ad agency.
The interactive shop’s Los Angeles office was selected after a review of undisclosed agencies. Billings are around $30 million, according to industry estimates.
Think has already created radio ads for the Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based client, and “a branding campaign is being developed,” said Larry Kopald, agency president.
Several executives at the shop have experience in the automotive category, including Kopald.
Donat Wald in Santa Monica, Calif., will provide additional marketing support. CarsDirect.com executives could not be reached at press time.
CarsDirect.com, which competes with similar services including Autobytel, quotes prices and allows consumers to purchase new vehicles online without being referred to a dealer. The nationwide service also has the vehicles delivered.
Separately, following months of speculation, New York-based Think New Ideas last week agreed to merge with AnswerThink Consulting Group, a back-end technology company based in Miami, in a pooling-of-interests transaction valued at $231.2 million. The companies are positioning the merger as a play to provide advertising and brand management with e-commerce and technology services. The merged entity’s new name has not been decided.
Think New Ideas chief executive officer Ron Bloom said the move adds AnswerThink’s strategic consulting strengths to his agency’s interactive marketing skills.
“Think New Ideas could never have hoped to build the level of consulting [expertise] by simply building organically,” he said, adding that competency in that area is important as traditional and new media agencies struggle to provide the same level of service as management consultants.
Both companies have offices in New York, Boston, Atlanta and Silicon Valley, which will be merged. In addition to Los Angeles, Think also has branches in Seattle and London. None of the offices is expected to close.