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HDC Defends Atlantis

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Harris Drury Cohen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., faces local and West Coast competition to retain its Atlantis Resort & Casino business, the client confirmed, as ad spending on the account doubles to $8 million.
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 contact Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky (CP&B) and California shops Ground Zero in Santa Monica and Open Minds in Laguna Beach to make informal presentations, along with HDC, in the next few weeks. A decision is expected by March.
Ground Zero is known for its ESPN2 and Michael Jordan Cologne ads; Open Minds principal Mark Choate has done Budweiser work.
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 goal of the expansion is an experiential interpretation of mythical underwater Atlantis. Construction is slated to be complete by year's end.
"What we're looking for is great creative and the right chemistry," said Karawan, adding that the winning agency will produce a TV-heavy campaign for 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.