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Legoland Theme Park Selects 7 Semifinalists

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Legoland California, a new theme park under construction in Carlsbad, Calif., has tapped seven Southern California semifinalists to vie for its estimated $10 million account.
The shops are: Asher & Partners, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, all in Los Angeles; Bates USA West, Irvine; Bozell Worldwide, Costa Mesa; and Seiniger Advertising, Beverly Hills. The agencies are contending for both creative and media duties, according to Robert Phillips, president of Phillips Marketing, the San Diego-based marketing consulting firm conducting the review on behalf of the previously undisclosed client [Adweek, Dec. 15].
A group of 40 shops received blind questionnaires last month, according to Phillips. The remaining contenders will give capabilities presentations Jan. 20-22. Three or four finalists will then be selected to give creative presentations, with a final decision expected by the end of March.
"The winning shop needs to help us brand Legoland as a major theme park in Southern California," said Legoland's director of marketing Marianne Flowers, who previously worked in marketing for Sea World in San Diego.
Owned by the Billund, Denmark-based toy company Lego, Legoland California will occupy a 128-acre site 30 miles north of San Diego. Scheduled to open in March 1999, the first ads for the estimated $130 million park will break this fall, with a major thrust of spending targeted for the first quarter of 1999, Flowers said.
Teaser ads and collateral pieces for the new park are being created by The Flowers Group in San Diego. Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, handles Lego's toy account in the U.S.