Three local advertising agencies--Cole Henderson Drake, Fitzgerald & Co. and Fricks/Firestone--are finalists in a compressed review for the newly combined account of American Adventures/Whitewater and Stone Mountain Park.
The former is owned by Branson, Mo.-based Silver Dollar City, which has an agreement in principle to acquire Stone Mountain. The attractions are all located in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
A fourth Atlanta agency, Austin Kelley Advertising, declined its invitation to participate in the account review.
A marketing official with the client said the agencies were asked the pitch the account, with billings in excess of $2 million, on an invitation-only basis. The attractions have been handling their advertising for the last few years with a combination of in-house talent and independent vendors. The decision to seek an outside agency arose after Silver Dollar City struck an agreement to acquire Stone Mountain. With the added property, client officials believed they could realize operational efficiencies if all sites were merged into one account.
The client will meet with the shops early next month and would like to make an agency decision by the end of next month.
Officials with one of the three agencies invited, Fitzgerald, said last week that they had signed an agreement in principle to be acquired by the Interpublic Group of Cos. in New York (see related story on page 2).
In addition to American Adventures/Whitewater, Silver Dollar City also has Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on its amusement park roster.
Officials with Silver Dollar City expect to sign an acquisition deal with Stone Mountain at the beginning of next year.