SeaWorld Moves Media Account to Initiative

Sister shop Draftfcb made the introduction

The new agency will plan and buy media and analyze data. | Photo: Bob Couey

With a little help from a fellow Interpublic Group agency, Initiative has landed media responsibilities for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

The assignment encompasses SeaWorld’s theme parks in the U.S., including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place and Discovery Cove. Initiative will plan and buy media in both traditional and digital outlets. The agency also will provide data analysis.

SeaWorld’s media spending totaled about $42 million last year, down from $48 million in 2011, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending, though, so SeaWorld’s total annual outlay is actually somewhat higher.

The account shifted from Omnicom Group’s OMD after a series of meetings between Initiative and SeaWorld executives. But Initiative’s introduction to SeaWorld came from sister shop Draftfcb, the theme park company’s lead creative agency since 2012.

Marketing leaders at the company cited the close connection between Initiative and Draftfcb as a rationale for the shift.

For years, Initiative has bought media time for Draftfcb clients. And early this year, parent company IPG folded Draftfcb’s media planning operation (and clients) into Initiative. A key player in that transition, Rich Gagnon, was instrumental in Initiative’s pursuit of SeaWorld.

Gagnon, the former chief media officer at Draftfcb, is now an evp at Initiative in New York. He’ll oversee SeaWorld’s business and help identify a business director to run the account day to day.


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