ABR 2011: Carlson ?Marketing

Principals?: Jeff Balagna, president/CEO; ?Peter DeNunzio, president,?US customer loyalty (pictured)?
Ownership?: Groupe Aeroplan?
Offices: 28 wholly owned globally; ?7 in US?
Revenue?: Global: $629 million;? US: $437 million?


This loyalty specialist works in six areas: strategy and customer planning; decision sciences; creative, interactive, media and mobile; award services; technology services and operations; and incentive and event management. ?

Canadian holding company Groupe Aeroplan, which evolved from Air Canada’s frequent flier program, acquired Carlson in late 2009. Carlson has clients spanning the hospitality, finance, insurance, retail, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals and technology verticals.?


UnitedHealth Group and True Value were two big account wins in 2010, says Peter DeNunzio, president, US customer loyalty. The agency also gained additional work from a number of existing clients. “Delta Air Lines, Hallmark, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola made us feel that last year was a very successful year,” he says. Account losses included Amtrak. ?


Carlson reduced staff by about 300 last year as it transitioned into the new holding company. ?

Yet the agency added staff overseas, opening an office in Mumbai to serve new client Kingfisher Airlines, and expanded in Japan.?

DeNunzio joined the agency in April, replacing Andrew Wright, who left in August 2010; Adina Dahlin joined as VP, customer experience; and Todd Dexter was promoted to VP, creative-US.?


Last year was a period of adjustment to the acquisition, and the agency is working on rebranding under the Aeroplan name.?

Groupe Aeroplan reports only global revenue figures, but Mike Kust, chief marketing officer agreed with published estimates in Advertising Age showing US revenue rose 4% to $436.8 million in 2009. The agency is on track to top those numbers in 2011, says DeNunzio.

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