KSL Media Inc., an Encino-based media buying agency, has reorganized its operations to focus on what Chief Executive Hank Cohen calls “hybrid buying.”

Hybrid buying combines direct-response and branding strategies. Direct-response ads call for immediate action, such as calling an 800 number or visiting a Web site. Brand advertisements work over time to promote a company’s name or increase traffic at stores.

A hybrid campaign works this way: Ads for Anna’s Linens, a KSL client, show products and then ask viewers to call an 800 number to learn the location of the nearest Anna’s store.

By adding that call to action, the ad qualifies for direct-response rates – the lowest on a TV station’s rate card, said Cohen.

“I’ve trained traditional media buyers to be hybrid buyers,” he said. “Since I’m buying media more efficiently for clients, I can charge them less.”

KSL’s reorganization involved disbanding the brand advertising department and promoting five managers to supervise the new hybrid unit. In the home office, Liz Kelly is the new director of hybrid broadcast buying and Robin Piersol is associate director.

Advertisers in the L.A. market who stand to benefit from the reorganization include Aladdin Bail Bonds, Guitar Center and Mercury Insurance.

Red Bull Raceway

Grand Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown will be reconfigured into a speed track for the Red Bull Soapbox Race on Sept. 26.

Forty-seven hand-made soapbox cars will compete, including a model that looks like a bunk bed and others resembling Pac-Man and an Aztec temple.

The Santa Monica office of Kastner & Partners, Red Bull’s global agency, will handle advertising on local TV, radio, outdoor, online and in-store to promote attendance at the event.

Thomas Grabner, president of Kastner’s local office, said the soapbox promotion concept started in Europe and has traveled well to the United States. The soapbox race in Philadelphia attracted 70,000 despite pouring rain. He declined to estimate the turnout for the L.A. race.

“It’s all done by consumers, just allowing people to express themselves,” said Grabner.

Succession at Inter/Media

Robert Yallen is the new chief executive at Inter/Media Group of Cos., replacing his father, Sydney Yallen, who passed away in February.

The younger Yallen was previously chief operating officer at the media buying firm in Encino, which reports $450 million in annual revenue. After joining the company in 1985, he spearheaded development of a scientific approach for buying TV time for direct-response advertisers. Inter/Media software analyzes every TV spot based on sales and then indicates how to buy time in the future to maximize revenue and minimize cost.

“I will continue to implement the strategies and initiatives that my father and I had planned,” Yallen said in a statement.

He also said his daughter Lindsay is preparing to enter the business and begin the third-generation phase of the succession plan.

Agencies & Accounts

Pollack PR Marketing Group will continue promoting the holiday season fundraising campaign for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. Pollack has held the account for five years. The agency will stage events, organize a council of fundraisers and manage cross-promotions with the Grove shopping center during the holiday season. … Sue Raymer has joined P3 Production Update, a Van Nuys-based international trade publication that tracks production of film and TV projects, as its new director of advertising. She previously worked nine years at the Hollywood Reporter as account manager. … Reach Local, a Woodland Hills Internet marketing company, ranked 39th on Inc. magazine list of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the country. The company reported 2008 revenue of $147 million, an increase of 3,217 percent since 2005. … Beverly Hills PR firm Levine Communications Office has signed celebrity portrait artist Dick Zimmerman as a client. Zimmerman, a photographer who took the cover images for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, hired Levine to promote his soon-to-be-unveiled poster of the late music star. … Blaine Group in Beverly Hills will handle trade show representation for OrganicKidz, a company in Calgary, Canada, that makes stainless-steel baby bottles. The first trade show will be Sept. 13-16 at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. … Lasse Glassen has been promoted to senior vice president in the downtown L.A. office of investor relations firm Financial Relations Board, a division of MWW Group. Since joining FRB five years ago, Glassen has worked on the United Healthcare and Hansen Medical accounts. He was previously senior manager of investor relations at DirecTV Group in El Segundo.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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