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Panama Tourism Picks BBDO

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A consortium led by BBDO South and Campagnani/BBDO has won the Tourism Board of Panama's advertising account.

The team outscored incumbent McCann-Erickson World Group/Panama and BVK/Pumer Imagen 10 and Diaz/TBWA with public relations firm Roberto Gaudelli y Asociados in a bilingual review.

BBDO South pitched with public relations partner Ketchum Latin America Group of Atlanta and Panama City-based Sanchiz, Sie-brasse & Asociados/Ketchum.

"From my understanding we scored very well on content and chemistry," said Chris Hall, president and chief executive officer of BBDO South. "It was apparent to the committee that we'd worked long and hard and that we had the best interests of Panama on our mind. You can't discount the enthusiasm of the team."

Billings for the account, the largest in the client's marketing history, are estimated at $10 million, an increase of $9 million over previous efforts. The BBDO team is charged with increasing tourism by 12 percent in the first year.

Original plans called for new creative to break before year's end, but, according to representatives at BBDO South, this could change.

Creative duties and South and Latin America media buying and planning will be led by Campagnani of Panama City in partnership with BBDO South's Atlanta office.

"They are experts on the product; we're experts on the target market," said Hall.

Media for North America and Europe will be handled in Atlanta. Tentative plans call for print in "explorer" publications like Smithsonian and National Geographic and travel magazines with special sections on uncommon destinations. Television spots will air on cable channels.

"We're gearing toward positioning Panama as the path less traveled," said Hall. "This has to be for people who want to explore. Panama is rarely anyone's first trip abroad."

Ketchum will help develop Panama as a destination for business meetings.