In the shrinking sector of travel advertising, Striker Media Group has signed two new clients who are benefiting from the “stay-cation” trend.

Santa Monica-based Striker publishes visitor’s guides for California cities. This year it has two new guides for Mendocino County and Huntington Beach, despite a slump that sent national tourism ad revenue down 14 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared with a year earlier, according to TNS Media.

Lyndell Gooch, Striker’s chief executive, said people are spending less on travel but they still want to get away. Trips tend to be shorter and closer to home.

Cities, counties and their visitors bureaus provide the information for the guides to Striker, which has nine employees; the company makes money by selling advertising.

Ad prices in visitor’s guides have held steady this year, but “it’s taking longer to hear yes from advertisers,” Gooch said. “However, my client cities still have to talk to visitors, and my advertisers still have to advertise.”

The downturn has helped Striker’s business indirectly. Lower office rents have allowed the company to move from West Los Angeles to Santa Monica – a strategic decision because Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau is a client. The company also has hired some key people from the shrinking magazine sector, including Jon Trumbull, former advertising director at Sunset.

Striker’s other local client cities include Marina del Rey, Santa Barbara, Oxnard and Carlsbad.

Disk Doubling

Trailer Park, a Hollywood marketing agency for movie and TV studios, has merged its Blu-ray and DVD operations to form the Advanced Content Group.

The new unit will bring together a team of copywriters, editors, designers, account managers and technicians. The team will work with Trailer Park clients to create ads and promotions in any media to sell Blu-ray movies.

Trailer Park has hired Suzanne Kamenir-Pedersen to run the group as vice president of interactive content. She was previously director of Blu-ray creative services at Universal Home Entertainment. In that job, she created advertising for the Blu-ray Consortium (Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, Walt Disney Co. and NBC Universal) and promoted BD-Live, a technology for Blu-ray players that uses an Internet connection to allow viewers to download additional content for a Blu-ray movie.

LCO 2.0

Levine Communications Office has opened a social media division called LCO 2.0 that will represent clients on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube.

LCO 2.0 will be co-directed by Josh Goodman and Maryanne Conlin. Goodman is the founder of Atak Interactive, an L.A.-based Web design firm, and Conlin is the winner of the 2008 Shorty Award for best green content on Twitter.

The pair will help LCO clients, including companies and a stable of celebrities, navigate the complex of sites, tools and rules involved with online social communication.

“Prophecy is dubious business, but the future of social media is anything but dubious,” said LCO founder Michael Levine. “Facebook is hypergrowing every day.”

Southern-Style Partying

Break Media, an L.A.-based online publisher focusing on sites for men, has produced a series of Webisodes for advertiser Southern Comfort.

The Webisodes teach men how to throw a house party, including selecting the right music, dress, entertainment and Southern Comfort brand liquors. The short comedy videos look like a cable TV sports highlight show that details the antics of two bachelors trying to achieve social grace.

Each of the eight Webisodes covers a type of get-together, such as birthday party, Halloween shindig or Super Bowl celebration. The videos will appear during the next several months on Break.com, the company’s main site.

Agencies & Accounts

Mandalay Media Inc., the parent company of mobile ad producer Twistbox Entertainment, has appointed Ray Schaaf president. Schaaf joins Mandalay from Arcadia Entertainment, where he was chief executive. … Carl Terzian Associates in West Los Angeles has signed World Protection Group as a client. Terzian will handle business networking events and media relations for the Beverly Hills-based security firm. … Product placement shop Davie Brown Entertainment in West Los Angeles has won the account for Harley-Davidson Inc. The company will work with Creative Artists Agency to integrate big motorcycles into films, TV shows, music and video games. “While Harley-Davidson is already a sought-after brand in Hollywood, we plan on helping them elevate their brand even higher,” said DBE President Tom Meyer. … Weisman Hamlin Public Relations will represent the Media & Policy Center, a Santa Monica-based non-profit organization that produces PBS television shows. The center provides school curriculum and community-based activities in conjunction with its shows, and WHPR will promote that side of the business. … Starfish Creative Events in Marina del Rey has hired Edward Roszak as executive chef. Roszak, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Joe’s Venice, will design the menu and cook for corporate meetings and large special events.

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

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