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Zimmerman's Retail Savvy Impresses LCA-Vision

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LCA-Vision has as-signed its estimated $12-15 million media planning and buying account to Zimmerman & Partners.

"We selected Zimmerman be-cause of their expertise with regionalized, retail-oriented clients," said Jeff Dowdle, LCA's executive vice president of marketing.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shop defeated Initiative Media's Cleveland office in the finals of a three-month review to win the business. Incumbent Green & Associates in Baltimore and Omnicom's PHD in New York were eliminated in an earlier round.

"LCA is looking to us to create impact scheduling techniques—ways for them to bring a broader reach, larger frequency and deeper discipline to their media," said agency chief executive officer Jordan Zimmerman, speaking of the client's current mix of radio advertising and direct mail.

Zimmerman said the shop is also pitching the creative portion of the account, currently handled in-house.

LCA operates a na-tionwide network of laser-vision correction centers under the brand name LasikPlus.

The review began in the early summer when Dowdle issued a request for proposal to a handful of agencies asking for an analysis of five LasikPlus markets, said agencyassociate director of marketingAnita Chadha. "Essentially, how and what would you do better?" she said. "We're talking cost per thousand, cost per point, daypart percentages, possible station mixes."

The winning solution, Zimmerman said, was a host of market-specific cross promotions and tie-ins with radio stations, a strategy buttressed by Z&P's significant retail buying clout. The shop, for example, handles media planning and buying for AutoNation and Nissan's national dealership network.

"We might partner with a radio station in Chicago that has a travel-agency account," said Zimmerman. "So a patient might find the Lasik procedure promoted with a whirlwind tour."

LCA's target market is adults, 35-44, who are "health conscious and conscious of their appearance."