Keating Magee Stirs Up Hornets’ Nest in Big Easy

In a lightning-swift review, Keating Magee has won a key 60-day ticket sales project for the management group seeking to bring the Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans.

The money-losing team received clearance from the National Basketball Association two weeks ago to begin accepting deposits for advance tickets in New Orleans. The outcome of those sales efforts will influence whether the Hornets receive permission to relocate to the Big Easy.

Alex Martins, who is overseeing business operations for the Hornets in New Orleans, began contacting local shops on Friday, Jan. 18. Keating Magee received its call at 2:30 p.m. and was the first to present at 8:30 Monday morning.

“By the time they arrived we had a complete campaign with ideas for print, television, public relations and guerrilla [marketing] tactics —everything so they could get started that day if they hired us,” said agency founder and chief executive officer Jennifer Magee.

The New Orleans agency also staged a basketball game, complete with uniformed employees, on its spacious balcony overlooking the French Quarter.

The client met with four other New Orleans shops: Peter A. Mayer Advertising, Trumpet, The Ehrhardt Group and Montgomery, Stire & Partners.

Said Martins, “We felt [Keating Magee] was most suited to go from zero to 60 in less than a minute. We were also impressed by the creative team and their initial concepts.”

Keating played up its sports marketing experience, which includes introducing the New Orleans Brass hockey team in 1997.

The decision did not come as a surprise to other local agency principals who said Keating is known for its aggressive new-business pitches.

The first work for the client breaks Wednesday.

The 60-day project could lead to winning the team’s full advertising account if ticket sales are strong.

“That’s certainly something we hope to secure,” Magee said.