LOS ANGELES – After reviewing credentials from 11 agencies, Crystal Cruises has cut to five the list of shops invited to pitch its $3-million account, formerly at Saatchi & Saatchi/Pacific, Torrance, Calif.
Though only two of the shops have first-hand cruise experience, the majority do have some travel or tourism background.
Agencies advancing from the first round are Bozell; D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; Eisaman, Johns & Laws; and Lord, Dentsu & Partners, all L.A., plus Pallas Advertising/S.F.
Pallas and DMB&B have cruise experience. Until February, Pallas handled Seabourne Cruise Lines, S.F. Several years ago, DMB&B/L.A., which handles creative for Qantas and the Australian Tourist Commission with its Aussie office, did project work for Ocean Pearl Cruises.
When the review began, Crystal senior vp/marketing Art Sbarsky said that shops were invited to participate based on either agency leadership or the ads they had produced, not necessarily their cruise advertising experience.
In addition, contenders said the questionnaire appeared to try to gauge some more subtle, and more sophisticated, aspects of the agency-client relationship. Agencies were asked why they wanted the business, what issues they felt Crystal would have to address and what kind of relationship the agency was interested in having with the client.
Bozell has no current, local travel experience, though it handles American Airlines globally. Neither does EJL, though several employees have worked on cruise accounts. Lord, Dentsu handles Best Western Hotels, Mexico City Tourism, Los Cabos and Acapulco.
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