Hyatt Taps Carat for Interactive

Carat Interactive has added online creative and media chores for Hyatt, following a review.

The assignment marks the hotel chain’s first foray into interactive advertising, said Wendy Falk, vp of marketing programs at Hyatt.

The agency is charged with creating an online campaign that will con sist primarily of banner ads and e-mails meant to draw users to the client’s new Web site. The effort is slated to break late next month.

Spending is expected to be about $5 million, sources said.

“We were very concerned with finding specialists in the online world that had great creative talent and had an appreciation for offline media,” said Falk. “Carat Interactive has a nice blend of all three.”

The win allows Carat Interactive, which mainly works with high-tech and b-to-b clients, to gain experience in the travel category, said Sarah Fay, president of the Boston-based shop, a unit of Aegis Group. The agency beat out other, undisclosed interactive shops for the account.

Cramer-Krasselt, Chi cago, has handled Hyatt’s $25 million traditional ad account for five years. Cross town agency Critical Mass cre ated the client’s Web site. Both shops will provide input for the interactive effort, and neither will lose assignments due to Carat Interactive’s hire, Falk said.

Carat Interactive, formerly a unit of Carat Freeman, spun out of that Newton, Mass.-based media agency in 2001. The interactive shop claims billings of $100 million from clients such as Adidas, Radio Shack, Jenny Craig and Hyundai. Carat Interactive also has offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.