Universal Studios Escape has split with Foote, Cone & Belding on the creative portion of its $20 million account.
As a result, sources said, Universal executives have been in informal talks with agencies nationwide on becoming the new lead shop for the growing theme park in Orlando, Fla.
Universal is spending an estimated $2.6 billion to transform the Orlando operation from a venue for one-day excursions into a destination resort. In addition to the Universal Studios Florida theme park, the company is building Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, an entertainment complex, CityWalk and five hotels.
The talks also do not appear to affect the media buying portion of the business, currently at DDB Needham, New York, or ad duties for Universal Studios Hollywood, which are handled by FCB and DDB's Los Angeles offices, said sources.
The split between FCB in New York and Universal has "nothing to do with us and our relationship with the [Universal Studios] Hollywood theme park," said Thom Miller, executive vice president and general manager of FCB's Los Angeles office. The agency has handled the two attractions separately, he said.
The agency talks are separate from another review for Universal's first overseas theme park in Osaka, Japan [Adweek, Jul. 27], said sources. Universal Studios Escape also works with Cramer-Krasselt in Orlando, which was tapped to handle ads for CityWalk in May.
Executives at Universal Studios declined to comment.