In rapid-fire succession, the market's second-largest media buying agency, Carat U.S.A., has picked up three new accounts, including a hotel and casino operation that will expand the shop's reach into the Las Vegas market.
Although the new clients collectively represent a relatively modest $10 million increase for a company that posts annual billings of more than $2.5 billion, the wins are seen as important for Carat.
The new clients include the retail chain 3 Day Blinds and the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas. In addition, the company is in the process of finalizing a deal with a chain of fitness centers but declined to identify the client.
Carat's managing director, John Barnes, notes the new clients have enlisted the agency as part of their respective growth strategies.
Also, in contrast to the dot-com companies that have been on a roller-coaster ride in recent months, the three accounts are widely viewed as solid, stable general-market companies.
"We looked at a variety of agencies, and we felt Carat was not only experienced with Las Vegas but well-versed in our business and with what they could do for us," said Stratosphere director of marketing Chuck Davison.
Carat edged out undisclosed West Coast media shops in the open review. Initiative Media, which has long been the top media buying shop in Los Angeles, previously handled the account.
"This is a company that wants to grow their business, and we have an opportunity to do that," said Barnes. "The more we help them grow, the more they'll want to spend."
The new business also means Carat will re-established a relationship with 3 Day Blinds, which had previously been a client. Barnes credited the agency's past involvement as key to the win.
He added that Carat has been eager to cultivate the Las Vegas market for some time.