CHICAGO Sona MedSpa, a franchised laser hair removal and skin care chain, is set to contact agencies about its marketing account through the Rojek Consulting Group, Sona’s top marketing executive said.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based chain will focus on midsize Midwest and Southeast agencies with strong direct, interactive and public relations capabilities, said Kurt Schusterman, who in July took over as Sona’s chief marketing officer after holding a similar post at Mail Boxes Etc.

National and local spending could reach $20 million in 2005 as the company enlists more franchisees, Schusterman said. Sona now has 24 locations, and plans to grow to more than 300 “within a couple of years,” Schusterman said. “With the aging of the baby-boomers, this category is exploding, and no national brand has been established,” he said.

Sona International spent $2 million on advertising last year and almost as much through June of this year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Individual franchisees worked with local agencies.

Carousel Capital and Jim Amos, the former CEO of Mail Boxes Etc., purchased Sona earlier this year. Amos took over as CEO of Sona and enlisted several executives from MBE, including Schusterman.

An MBE team including Schusterman selected independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., for the company’s advertising three years ago following a review.

Schusterman said he wants a single agency for Sona to “build a bigger integrated effort that includes some national marketing.” The agencies will also oversee local marketing efforts. Interactive, direct, promotions and public relations will play large roles. “It’s building a brand as we build a category,” he said.

Proposal requests are set to go out later this month, said Leslie Mapes, senior vice president at RCG.

Full Article:  Schusterman leads ad agency search

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