S.E. Shops Trail Winner in Magna Race

DALLAS Magna Entertainment Corp. has consolidated the creative and media planning and buying duties of its estimated $10 million account at The Richards Group, the agency said.

The Dallas independent shop already handles creative and media duties for Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie (Texas), which was acquired by Magna in March 2002.

Richards will now handle creative and media duties for Magna’s 14 racetracks. The agency picked up the additional duties following a review that included finalists Havas’ Arnold in Boston, Ten Worldwide’s Ten United in Pittsburgh, independent The Leffler Agency in Baltimore and Taglairino Advertising Group in Miami, according to sources.

Magna has been acquiring tracks for over three years and held the review to consolidate its marketing support with a single agency, according to Richards principal Dave Kroencke, who said the work had been divided among four to six shops in the past. He added the primary focus of the review was on media, but shops were also asked about their creative capabilities.

Richards will now analyze how to incorporate the new ownership of the tracks. “Moving forward how do we portray each of these tracks to the public—is [Magna’s ownership] something that needs to be publicized or not?” said Kroencke. “The idea will be is there some type of creative that can work across the system and be customized for each individual track?”

Magna, which is based in Aurora, Ontario, Canada, spent $7 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The biggest individual media spenders were Gulfstream Park and Lone Star Park, which each spent $2 million.