Metamor, Claremont Restaurant Group Name Charlotte Agency
ATLANTA--Technology accounts may be the current red meat of the advertising business, but Price/McNabb took that a step further last week, adding a high-tech client and three steakhouses.
Metamor Worldwide, an information technology solutions company in Houston, awarded its account after an extended review.
Separately, Claremont Restaurant Group, operators of Sagebrush, Western Steer and Prime Sirloin steakhouses, chose the shop as the three eateries' first agency since the parent was acquired by Carousel Capital last year.
Both companies named the Charlotte, N.C., shop agency of record. Combined billings are estimated at $13-18 million.
Metamor hired the Boston consultancy Pile and Co. early this year to launch a review that opened with 12 agencies. The field was narrowed to three finalists: Price/McNabb; Emmerling Post, New York; and TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group, Austin, Texas.
The review went off course in early spring, when Metamor stated it would be acquired by Internet specialist PSINet. The Herndon, Va.-based PSINet uses Trone Advertising as its lead agency, and an invitation to the High Point, N.C., shop to join the pitch followed.
Recent stock market fluctuations have since caused the merger to be put on hold. Representatives for Metamor were unavailable for comment, but Price/McNabb president Tom Epps said "[Metamor has] told us that [a merger] will have no impact on the business whatsoever."
Epps said Metamor made it clear it wanted to be a big fish in an agency's pond.
"One thing [Metamor] said from the beginning is that they want to be the number one or number two client," Epps said. "They'll be our biggest or our second biggest . . . after Square D Company."
The Sagebrush, Western Steer and Prime Sirloin account will bill about $3 million annually, according to Jim Verney, president of the Charlotte-based restaurant group.
Sagebrush Steakhouse is the largest of the group's holdings, with 47 restaurants throughout the Carolinas, eastern Tennessee and southern Virginia. Verney said the company is aggressively investing in facilities and staffing improvements, and plans to increase its locations by 50 percent over the next five years.