M&C Saatchi Cast as Beverly Hills’ Shop

LOS ANGELES Following a four-month review, independent M&C Saatchi has been tapped to create an extensive branding campaign for the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, the agency’s chief executive officer said today.

“Our aim is to raise the profile, draw more visitors to Beverly Hills,” said Huw Griffith, CEO of the year-old Los Angeles shop.

“Initially, it was quite specific: To promote overnight stays in Beverly Hills through the low season,” Griffith said of the assignment. But upon researching the reasons tourists have been drawn to the area, the agency realized it was “an ideal time to start putting Beverly Hills back on the map” in a bigger way, he said.

M&C Saatchi’s signature “brutally simple thinking” approach to brand building emphasizes clear messages and powerful visuals, Griffith explained. The Beverly Hills project is no exception.

“It’s a simple idea, a very simple thought, with a wonderful tagline,” he said of the creative plan, meant to reinvigorate the city’s image as sophisticated yet accessible. A media schedule to be crafted with the help of the client, has not been set, Griffith said. Expected to break early next year, components will include outdoor and print.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau has not relied on paid advertising initiatives in the immediate past. The group spent nothing on ads from January to September of this year, and just $300,000 in 2003.

The client’s most recent significant campaign, estimated at $3-4 million, was in 1999. Created by Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson, Los Angeles, it attempted to illustrate the city’s welcoming personality via print elements and a pair of Charlton Heston-voiced cable TV spots.

Even before winning the Beverly Hills assignment, M&C Saatchi had developed a reputation in the travel and tourism marketplace, with clients including the U.S. Department of Commerce, Qantas Airlines and Crystal Cruises. In late October, the agency won the creative portion of the estimated $6-8 million San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park account [Adweek Online, Nov. 3].