CBS Selects Initiative for $130 Million Media Account

Decision a Blow to Carat; Work Was Its First in the U.S.

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NEW YORK ( -- CBS has selected Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media to handle its estimated $130 million account, according to executives familiar with the matter. The decision ends a months-long review that also included incumbent Aegis Group’s Carat, New York, and Omnicom Group’s OMD.
CBS was the first U.S. account won by Carat.

Initiative will handle national advertising planning and buying duties for TV, print, cable, radio, newspaper magazines and interactive. Local TV and radio is not part of the review.

Blow to Carat
The decision is a blow to Carat, which won the account, its first in the U.S., almost eight years ago after the U.K.-based media agency established a beachhead here under the leadership of David Verklin, then CEO of Carat Americas, and Charlie Rutman, president of Carat U.S.

The review was initiated a week after CBS Corp. and Viacom split into two separately traded public companies. While broadcast netowrks CBS and UPN had previously been consolidated at Carat, CBS Corp.'s assets post-split include Showtime, King World, CBS Paramount, Simon & Schuster, CSTV and CBS Digital Media.

CBS marketing chief George Schweitzer told Advertising Age when the review was launched that it was "the right time to take another crack at what's happening in the media world and how we can service everyone's needs best." He also said CBS was looking for an agency with both a New York and Los Angeles presence.

The win is significant for Initiative, which has been struggling to rebuild its client roster after a tough few years. Cheryl Lodinger, head of Los Angeles-based consultancy Opinion, handled the review. She did not return calls. CBS declined to comment. The agencies couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Matthew Creamer and Abbey Klaassen contributed to this report.

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