The Aruba Tourism Authority has privatized and installed new leaders. Could new agencies be far behind?
The tourism authority is in the midst of two reviews: one for its advertising business and another for public relations efforts. Each is down to a handful of finalists, with a decision expected next month, according to AAR Partners, the New York consultancy managing the reviews.
On the ad piece, account revenue and annual media spending is relatively small: around $1 million for the former and about $8 million for the latter. Given like-minded marketing executives, however, an island tourism account represents an opportunity for an agency to flex its creative muscles.
A leader at one contending agency described Aruba as “a sexy object,” adding, “It’s a cool island with really nice people.”
In the fall, ATA unveiled its plans to shift from a publicly to privately funded operation. Also last year, the tourism authority also named its first CEO: Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, who in September signaled a desire to rethink the island’s marketing strategy.
The ad business includes both creative and media efforts, both of which are now handled by Deutsch in New York. (Deutsch inherited the business from fellow Interpublic Group shop Lowe when the two merged in 2009.)
This week, Deutsch exited the review, leaving three teams contending for the ad piece. The remaining teams are led by The Concept Farm, SapientNitro and People, Ideas & Culture. PI&C, for example, is partnering with digital shop Profero and media agency Horizon Media.
The incumbent on the PR business, M. Silver Associates in New York, is defending against The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla., Edelman in New York and Zeno Group in New York, AAR confirmed.
Next week, ATA executives will visit the contenders for a round of work sessions. Final presentations in both reviews are slated for mid-March in Aruba.