Mintz Creates Media Only Unit

After winning Mohegan Sun’s $15 million broadcast buying account last week, Mintz & Hoke is using the victory to do what the big agencies have done: unbundle media.

Mohegan Sun will be the foundation of a new Mintz division, Media Only, which opens its doors Oct. 1. Media Only will be headed by Lyn ette McCarthy, a shop vp and 25-year agency veteran. Along with associate director of media planning Eric Schweighoffer, she will oversee a staff of six Mintz planners and buyers.

Mintz, in Avon, Conn., won the casino business following a review of undisclosed shops. It had lost the account to Carat in spring 2001 after a review. At that time, creative and media planning were also moved from Mintz to Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York; Mintz has since worked on PR and interactive projects for Mohegan Sun.

Cliff Freeman helped Mohegan Sun conduct the most recent media search, which sought a smaller shop that could “service clients to the full extent,” said Freeman general manager Peter Regan. “We need someone who could dig deep and get their hands dirty.”

Regan cited the casino’s prior relationship with Mintz, as well as chemistry with his agency as key factors in the decision.

With Media Only, the $65-70 million shop is attempting to exploit what it sees as a niche opportunity: offering media planning and buying to Connecticut-based cli ents with budgets in the low- to mid-seven figures. McCarthy said Media Only is particularly interested in retail clients, because they tend to use boutique creative agencies without media abilities. The shop also hopes to work with a range of consumer and business-to-business customers, she said.

During her tenure, McCarthy has played a role in media planning and buying for clients such as Webster Bank, Cigna and MassMutual.

Other comparably sized shops that have spun off media services in recent years include Young & Laramore in Indianapolis, which launched EchoPoint Media in 1998, and T&O Media in Irvine, Calif., which opened The Media Strategists in 2001.