12-Year Incumbent Will Not Defend Its Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. Account

After a 12-year relationship with Tausche Henderson Drake here, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. has placed its $5 million-plus global account in review, the client confirmed.
Rather than assuming “a defensive posture,” Tausche Henderson Drake (THD) will not participate in the review process, said agency chief executive officer John Drake.
“We’ve given them our best. We wish them well,” said Kurt Tausche, THD president and chief creative officer. “We did consistently award-winning work.” Most recently, the shop won two Addys at the district level for its Ritz-Carlton print ads.
According to Competitive Media Reporting, the Atlanta-based hotel chain allocated $3.8 million for advertising in 1997. The bulk of the account involves consumer print ads.
Ritz-Carlton corporate director of marketing Dan Collins said the chain’s expanding global needs prompted the review, although he added: “We’re very satisfied with what [THD] has done for us . . . we didn’t want to change agencies.”
Collins’ preference is to hire a local shop, although he will consider agencies on the roster of Ritz-Carlton parent Marriott International.
Marriott’s roster shops include lead agency McCann-Erickson in New York; The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., which handles Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn; and New York’s Lowe & Partners/SMS, which represents Courtyard by Marriott.
A new agency is expected to be signed by Aug. 1.
THD gained the Ritz-Carlton account in 1986, when the chain managed just three hotels. Since then, the agency has built a reputation for its stylish print ads on behalf of the client, which now manages and/or owns 32 properties.
The agency, which will lay off two employees as a result of the account loss, hopes to use its hospitality experience to gain another client in the category.