KSL Media Blossoms In L.A.

Office Adds $70 Mil. in New Business in 3 Months
LOS ANGELES–An alliance with ad agency Ground Zero and a nontraditional approach to pursuing new business have contributed to the rapid growth of KSL Media’s Los Angeles office.
KSL landed all media buying duties for four new accounts–Atlantis Resorts, Virgin Cola, Activision and Genesee Beer–due to an existing relationship with the Santa Monica, Calif., agency. The business culled through Ground Zero, along with five other account wins, has boosted the office’s billings from $30 million to nearly $100 million over the past three months.
In the three years since it moved its California hub from San Francisco to Los Angeles, KSL has become one of the leading independent media buying companies on the West Coast and one of largest remaining indies in the country.
Hank Cohen, president of the L.A. office, said the company’s success lies in its nontraditional approach to attracting new clients. “We think about media not just in terms of numbers, but how it relates to business,” he said. “We approach media with our clients as an investment, not an expenditure.”
KSL’s other recent account wins include Studios USA (formerly Universal Television), iMALL.com and The 700 Club.
“These new accounts are well-suited to KSL’s innovative approach to media solutions,” Cohen said, adding that the L.A. office now boasts a full 20 percent of the New York-based national agency’s estimated $500 million in annual billings.
“We throw the occasional cannonball at them with our media planning, but they are always adept at going with it,” said Ground Zero managing partner Jim Smith, who has used KSL since he headed Lord, Dentsu.
The 25-person office works with ad agencies as well as advertisers. It is working directly with iMALL.com, an online shopping service, and teaming up with entertainment agencies Smash Advertising in Boston and The Agency in Studio City, Calif., on assignments for Studios USA.
“KSL Media brings nontraditional thinking to the entertainment category,” said Susan Kantor, senior vice president of advertising and promotion at Studios USA. “Their unconventional approach is part of our strategy to make sure Studios USA stands out in this competitive industry.”
KSL is also handling media management for talk-show host Sally Jesse Raphael through The Agency. In addition, KSL Media is working directly with Studios USA on several projects.
KSL has bolstered its entertainment talent pool with the recent addition of two executives with experience in the category. Loril Hirsch came on board as director of broadcast from DDB Needham’s Los Angeles office, where she was an associate broadcast director on the Universal Pictures and Universal Studios accounts. Karen Boessow joined as associate media director after supervising media planning for Buena Vista Television, Miramax Films and Sunkist.
The office’s other major accounts include Countrywide Home Loans, Guitar Center and Blue Cross of California.