Erika Engle

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Account turnover
hot news in local
advertising industry

IT'S another one of the things that makes Hawaii unique. Major advertising accounts rarely pull up stakes to switch agencies. When they do, it's water cooler and watering hole fodder all over town.

Such events are not always abrupt, however.

Castle & Cooke Hawaii has awarded the remaining piece of its advertising business to Team Vision LLC, Craig Carapelho's 7-year-old, full-service agency.

It was first hired to do the Castle & Cooke Web site in 1997. The steady cascade of C&C business into Team Vision continued, with accounts for the company's developments at Lalea at Hawaii Kai, Royal Kunia and Renaissance at Waipahu, as well as real estate and resort marketing for Lanai, a mostly private island owned by Castle & Cooke.

Most recently, Team Vision snagged what Carapelho calls, "the big one, the Mililani advertising account, which was the final piece. Now we have everything," he said.

Castle & Cooke's mortgage and realty arms are also in Team Vision's hands, said Donna Tomita, Castle & Cook Hawaii director of marketing. She said C&C went with Team Vision because of its knowledge of C&C and its execution of integrated services.

Tomita said the Mililani account is worth more than $2 million but acknowledged the figure is conservative.

Carapelho's first experience with the C&C account was as a 22-year-old intern with The Schiller Group. Now heading his own company, he has ramped up to meet the demands of the account Tomita describes as a "hard account to manage, because there are so many moving pieces."

"Mililani is one of the largest master-planned communities in Hawaii and when you think about it, there are so many different product lines, homes, shopping -- we have everything from commercial to residential so it's a very tough account. It does require a lot of day-to-day, hands-on management," she said.

Team Vision has hired nine employees and will hire a few more, Carapelho said.

Account arrivals often mean hires, but departures often mean job losses.

AdWorks Inc., which used to represent Castle & Cooke, hired ten people upon landing the account. When the client left, so did six people. Three followed the work to Team Vision and three were laid off, according to President Darrel Kloninger.

"First of all, we're very proud of the work we did for Castle & Cooke for almost five years. They decided to consolidate their account in one agency," he said. "They were supportive and positive about the quality of (our) work."

AdWorks has 30 people, versus Team Vision's 18. It is also more established. Founded in 1969, Adworks celebrated 35 years as the agency of record for Aston Hotels & Resorts this month. Kloninger will personally have represented Budget Rent A Car for 40 years by next month. Another long-term client is AT&T Wireless, which has multiple national agencies but only one local agency -- AdWorks, he said. That account started with the agency in 1985 when the company was known as Honolulu Cellular.

There are many in the local ad industry who are thankful the exodus of dollars from one agency to the next is such a big deal.

"It's very common in our business, but in Hawaii it's very uncommon," said Nick Ng Pack, president and chief executive officer of Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising.

On the mainland, account turnover went from every four or five years to every two or three years after the dot-com bomb.

Quick turnarounds are costly and tumultuous for agencies, "but here in Hawaii it's a very different experience, knock on wood. On the plus side, it's very stable, there's not much turnover of accounts." The downside is that there's not much growth, Ng Pack said.

"We average here maybe two or three new businesses a year. If I were on the mainland, I'd be doing maybe 20. You'd have maybe a one-out-of-four success ratio," Ng Pack said. He gets to spend most of his time with existing clients, where on the mainland, "I'd be doing new business all day long."

Mainland turnover has stabilized somewhat. Nevertheless, hundreds of accounts go up for review every year, Kloninger said. "In Hawaii there are relatively few, and I must say, there's getting to be less and less accounts over here."

Ng Pack echoed that observation.

"You have a lot of changes in ownership. A lot of accounts have moved to the mainland ... then you've got headquarters moving and ownership consolidating."

One owner of three businesses doesn't necessarily need three agencies, he said.

The trend for agencies has been to provide integrated services, including traditional print, broadcast and online advertising, public relations and more, to serve a client's entire list of needs.

In an integrated agency, as most of Honolulu's large agencies are, one meeting can generate ideas for television, print, public relations and events.

"You don't have to have five different meetings," said Ng Pack.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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