Caesars Entertainment Launches Fast-Moving Creative Pitch

Casino and Hospitality Company Says It Wants to Consolidate With Fewer Agencies

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Caesars Entertainment Corp. has begun a creative agency review, Ad Age has learned.

According to Kantar, the casino operator and hospitality company spent nearly $80 million in measured media across all of its brands last year. Two of the key incumbents on the business are Omnicom Group shops; GSD&M since 2009 has worked on the Caesars and Horseshoe brands, while sibling shop BBDO in San Francisco handles Harrah's, Bally's, Flamingo, Paris, Showboat and Harvey's. Both agencies are understood to have been invited to participate in the pitch.

Other parts of the portfolio have been doled out to an array of shops, and there are different agencies that currently handle multicultural or other duties for these brands as well.

Now, Caesars wants to whittle down its agency partners to one or a couple that can oversee creative across the entire portfolio. To that end, it has sent out a request-for-proposal document to several firms across the industry.

Caesars Entertainment didn't respond to a request for comment by press time, but in a copy of the document obtained by Ad Age , the marketer described the reasons for the move as follows: It wants to "consolidate from many agencies with inadequate communication and integration down to fewer agencies in order to create higher service levels, improve strategic integration and accelerate creative competencies."

It went on to say that the new partner agency Caesars chooses "must be able to demonstrate brand differentiation in the mind of the consumer." Furthermore, the new marketing approach it will adopt in 2013 "will employ fewer, but larger campaigns, and "these campaigns should be focused on driving near-term revenue rather than long-term brand health."

Interested shops should keep in mind that pitching the account could mean working through the holidays.

Per the deadlines indicated in the request for proposal, Caesars will quickly move from the RFP stage to picking contenders for presentations, with the first round of presentations taking place in mid November, and finalists expected to present the Monday after Thanksgiving. Then, the marketer will deliberate over the December holidays, saying it intends to make a decision and complete contract negotiations by Dec. 31.

The scope of work includes TV, outdoor and print creative, as well as social, mobile, and marketing materials within locations. The client is also asking for its new creative agency to lead strategic direction for digital media planning, buying and search.

Traditional media buying and planning and direct marketing are not including, nor is Asian marketing strategy. Separately, Caesars Entertainment is conducting a review to help it market its World Series of Poker tournament and an associated website; that work will not be included in the new agency of record assignment.

That Caesars is streamlining its agency roster and planning to focus on fewer, bigger creative campaigns next year makes sense given the company has been seeing some falloff in the patronage of its casinos and hotels. In its last earnings report, Gary Loveman, Caesars Entertainment Corp. chairman, had this to say: "After a strong first quarter, difficult economic conditions led to lower visitation in several regions, impacting our core operating results in the second quarter. While the economy may continue to pose challenges, we remain focused on controlling costs, investing in growth opportunities and our core brands and strengthening our capital structure."

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