A half-dozen agencies from New England and New York last week emerged as contenders for the advertising account of Mohegan Sun Casino.
Mintz & Hoke, Avon, Conn., which has held the business for nearly five years, is defending. Looking to unseat the incumbent are Holland Mark Advertising, Boston; Deutsch, pitching through its Boston and New York offices; and New York players Cliff Freeman and Partners, Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners and Merkley Newman Harty.
A cut to three or four finalists will be made in early March, according to Judy Neer, a consultant with Boston-based Pile and Co., which is overseeing the review process. A winner will be chosen a few weeks later.
The Uncasville, Conn., casino spent $7 million on ads in each of the past two years, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Spending is expected to increase once the client has completed the review.
The account has become a creative showcase for Mintz & Hoke, and agency president Chris Knopf has made retaining the business a top priority.
The shop earlier this month launched a TV push for the client, the first to feature Colin Mochrie of the ABC series Whose Line Is It Anyway? A trio of 30-second spots will air through June in Boston, New York, Albany, N.Y., and Connecticut.
Client officials have said the review does not reflect displeasure with Mintz & Hoke. "It's prudent business every four or five years to review your options and see what's out there in the marketplace," said Michael Bloom, senior vice president of marketing for Mohegan Sun.