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$20 Mil

$20 Mil. Creative Account Back in Play After 3 Months at K&S
LOS ANGELES–CarsDirect.com is conducting a closed agency review just three months after moving its creative account from Think New Ideas to Kalis & Savage.
Executives at the Internet car buying service declined to comment on the review except to say they are seeking a “world-class agency” with automotive and Internet experience.
The account is worth an estimated $20 million, but has been projected to grow significantly.
Sources familiar with the account said the Culver City, Calif., company is in a quiet period as it prepares for an initial public offering.
It has not been the smoothest marketing road thus far for the company. Think, Los Angeles, prevailed in a creative review of undisclosed agencies last summer; Kalis & Savage, Pacific Palisades, Calif., was then contracted on an interim basis in December. Executives at K&S said they have not been invited to pitch this time.
“I’m not surprised by the news [of the review],” said K&S principal George Savage. “They’re still defining their communication strategy.”
Media buying will remain at KSL Media, Los Angeles.
Prior to moving creative to K&S, CarsDirect launched an ambitious TV, radio and print campaign developed by Think. But it put the brakes on that work due to lackluster results.
In the interim, the dot.com has continued running radio spots developed by Think and some K&S print work.
A lot is riding on who the company eventually hires to head up its marketing, sources said.
Company representative Wendy Barbour confirmed CarsDirect is seeking either a new senior vice president of marketing or a chief marketing officer. Those duties are currently handled by Donna Miller, who was selected as interim marketing director in December. Miller also serves as director of market research.
CarsDirect also recently tapped former Homestore.com executive Chuck Hoover as director of online advertising and acting vice president of advertising.
The company competes with services such as Autobytel, quoting prices and allowing consumers to purchase new vehicles online without being referred to a dealer. The service also delivers vehicles directly to buyers.