Two Southern California agencies are among the contenders vying for the estimated $8 million Atlantis Resort & Casino account.
Ground Zero in Santa Monica and Open Minds in Laguna Beach join incumbent Harris Drury Cohen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, in the race for the business, according to sources.
Sun International Resorts, also in Fort Lauderdale, is funding a $500 million expansion of the Paradise Island, Bahamas, facility.
The resulting "brand identity change" calls for an agency that can "identify the soul of the brand and communicate it in a rather bold yet simplistic form," said Howard Karawan, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sun.
That quest inspired Sun to invite the four shops to make informal presentations in the next few weeks. A decision is expected in March.
Ground Zero is known for its ESPN2 and Michael Jordan Cologne ads. Open Minds, a six-person creative shop, handles some work for Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser brand.
CP&B's $70 million Florida anti-tobacco business [Adweek, Feb. 9] was a concern to Sun. But the shop "assured us that a good portion of the account is being shared by other [partner] agencies," Karawan said.
While the resort's original theme centered on the ocean's exoticism and power, the expansion aims to offer an experiential interpretation of mythical underwater Atlantis. Construction is slated to be completed by year's end.
"What we're looking for is great creative and the right chemistry," Karawan said, adding that the winning agency will produce a TV-heavy campaign to break in the fall.
Sun never completed the agency review it began a year ago [Adweek, Feb. 24, 1997]. Increased ad spending was postponed, Karawan said, and HDC retained the account.
--with Angela Dawson