CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In an unlikely marriage, Leo Burnett -- best known for fuzzy cereal-shilling mascots like Tony the Tiger and tear-jerking ads for Hallmark and Disney -- has won global agency-of-record duties for Harrah's Caesars brand.
Caesars' various hotels and entertainment units spent upwards of $40 million on measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, and that total is expected to rise significantly as the marketer opens new hotels in Spain and the Bahamas. Burnett beat out five undisclosed agencies in a competitive review for the business.
'Great personal chemistry'
"Leo Burnett ... proved they understood the challenges associated with developing a global brand platform but executing with local market and product challenges in mind," Kris Hart, VP-brand marketing for Harrah's, said in a statement. "Not only do they have the experience and capabilities to help us deliver an integrated offering across channels, but most importantly we had great personal chemistry between our team and theirs."
The win was described by two Burnett sources as the first successful new-business collaboration between Burnett and direct-marketing sibling Arc, which were aligned more closely in a restructuring earlier this year.
That restructuring also saw former Latin American President Juan Carlos Ortiz promoted into a co-North American president role with Rich Stoddart. At the time, Burnett executives said Mr. Ortiz would be responsible for incoming accounts, while Mr. Stoddart would handle existing clients. Yet it was Mr. Stoddart who was on the Burnett team that made the final, successful pitch for the Caesars business.
Mr. Ortiz said shortly after arriving at Burnett that he wanted to make the agency more "sexy," and a client such as Caesars -- with its mix of gambling, luxury and travel -- may serve as a proving ground to that end.
"Caesars is a legendary brand name in the gaming business, with the flagship Caesars Palace at the center of the Las Vegas strip for more than 40 years," said Mr. Stoddart, co-president, Leo Burnett North America, in a statement. "We're thrilled to partner with Caesars as they grow this iconic brand in the U.S. and around the world. As you can imagine, there's a waiting list of people here who would love to work on it."
That "waiting list" likely includes a number of staffers who worked on the $173 million Washington Mutual account, which left the Publicis-owned agency network for Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day earlier this month.