"They are buying spot television for us," said David Heller, K&B's media director. "They've been doing it now for six to eight months. Lots of agencies use other agencies to do television buys."
Previously, K&B performed its spot buying in-house, although its West Coast office has collaborated with KSL Media, a True North Communications unit, on its spot buying. It was not determined at press time if that relationship would be affected by the CIA alliance.
"We made a deal where we pick up all of their spot television buying," confirmed Tom Sassos, CIA New York's CEO. "They are going to plug into our resources. When you have an agency that size, which is not part of a larger agency group, they need the kind of tools that an agency like CIA has."
According to media executives, smaller independent agencies are increasingly cementing relationships with midsize media agencies. CIA has had a similar relationship with Weiss Stagliano & Partners in New York and KSL works with several agencies in this way, including DiMassimo Brand Advertising, Avrett Free & Ginsburg, Pedone & Partners, all New York; Marc USA, Pittsburgh; and Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif.
"All your smaller agencies in the future will consolidate with media services," said Kal Liebowitz, CEO of KSL. "My research costs alone are close $1 million a year. How can a smaller agency survive, especially in today's economic situation? It's the trend. Actually it's a done deal. Most of the smaller agencies have given up media buying."
K&B is one of the last of the midsize independent advertising shops, billing over $400 million in advertising billings. Its client list includes Revlon, Wyndham Hotels, Citibank AAdvantage, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and a small piece of Target Stores.