American Laser Skincare Finds Lead Shop

Brand looks to expand marketing efforts

In rethinking its marketing efforts, American Laser Skincare aims to become less tactical and more expansive.

Previously, the company relied mainly on search engine optimization, affiliate marketing and digital display ads, according to chief marketing officer Tom Downey. Now, American Laser is mulling other types of marketing and has turned to Doner to lead the way.

The company’s new lead agency won’t be limited to creative responsibilities, however. Doner, an MDC Partners-backed shop that’s based in Southfield, Mich., also will handle media planning and buying.

In essence, American Laser has consolidated marketing assignments previously split between two shops—MediaWhiz for digital marketing and Universal McCann for media—even as it looks to broaden its efforts.

The Doner hire came after a review in which there were two other finalists, Downey said. Future annual media spending is estimated at $10 million the shop’s first work is expected in January or February.

American Laser, which provides hair removal, skin treatments and cellulite reduction, competes with an array of businesses that includes medical spas, plastic surgeons and even tattoo parlors. The company is based in Farmington Hills, Mich. and has outlets in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

Beyond Doner’s strategic vision for the brand, Downey was impressed with the agency’s willingness to take less compensation up front, with the potential to earn more should its marketing efforts exceed American Laser’s goals.

“Doner came in with a very aggressive proposal and frankly they put a lot at risk based on their [executives’] assessment of the long-term potential” of the brand, said Downey, who joined American Laser in June.

The agency reached the final round in part due to its retail and direct-marketing experience for the likes of Serta mattresses and ADT home security systems. It also helped that Downey knew the agency first-hand, albeit in another era.

From 1990 until 1999, Downey managed accounts such as Expedia, Bob’s Stores and National Tire at Doner. After that, he was a group account director at Leo Burnett in Detroit, where he spent six years.