Mohegan Sun Picks Creative, Media Shop

With help from pitch partners, New York agency People Ideas & Culture has outstripped three bigger contenders to win creative and media duties on Mohegan Sun’s advertising account.

Overnight, the Uncasville, Conn.-based casino and entertainment complex becomes the largest client at the nearly 30-person shop. Sources estimated account revenue at nearly $2 million. In terms of major measured media, the client plans to spend about $15 million this year.

The winner’s pitch team included executives from independent Horizon Media, digital agency Profero and communications strategy specialist Naked, said PI&C founder Domenico Vitale. PI&C routinely uses T.A.G. for production services and will utilize that shop for Mohegan Sun as well.

“PI&C was given the nod because of their overall approach, their renowned senior talent and the access to the best of class resource partners,” said George Galinsky, vice president of marketing communications at Mohegan Sun.

The client previously identified the other finalists as the New York offices of Havas’ Arnold, Publicis Groupe’s Publicis and independent Cramer-Krasselt. The incumbent, MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners in New York, did not defend.

Ark Advisors in Playa del Rey, Calif., managed the review that began in November, with the circulation of a request for proposals. In December, client executives visited six shops and narrowed the field to the final four.

Agency presentations took place Jan. 26 and 27 at Mohegan Sun, with Arnold and Cramer-Krasselt pitching on the 26th and PI&C and Publicis on the 27th, according to sources.

Vitale, who launched PI&C in early 2009, described his new client as “one of the best entertainment brands in America,” adding that “it’s a perfect fit for the integrated and discipline neutral approach we take.”

The media portion of the assignment encompasses media planning and buying for online ads, keyword searches, outdoor displays and magazines. Other print buying and broadcast media buying weren’t in play and remain at Media Space Solutions in Norwalk, Conn., and Mintz & Hoke in Avon, Conn., respectively.

Before opening his own shop, Vitale was North American chief strategic officer at Interpublic Group’s Lowe. The win reunites him with a brand that he worked on earlier in his career, when he was head of brand strategy at Kirshenbaum Bond.

To date, PI&C’s work generally has taken the form of strategic and creative projects for the likes of Samsung, Morgans Hotel Group, Colavita olive oil and Coda Automotive.