3 Shops Chase NYC Tourism

NEW YORK New York City is seeking an ad agency to help it top 50 million annual visitors by 2015, sources said.

Some 43 million tourists are expected to visit New York this year, so a 16 percent increase is needed if the city is to reach that goal.

Three agencies have emerged as finalists, sources said. They are: Havas’ Arnold, Interpublic Group’s Lowe and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which is 49 percent owned by Publicis Groupe. The shops, all pitching from their offices here, have been briefed and are slated to make final presentations in late November.

Estimated account billings are $15-20 million.

Although the city has doled out creative projects in the past—2001’s “New York Miracle” campaign from Omnicom Group’s BBDO among them—this assignment is perceived as more far-reaching and long-term.

“It’s a great assignment because New York City is the world’s biggest brand,” said a source.

George Fertitta, the city’s marketing chief, is spearheading the review.

Fertitta, former chairman of Margeotes Fertitta Powell here, assumed his new role in June after Mayor Michael Bloomberg consolidated three departments and put Fertitta in charge.

At the time, the city said in a statement, “One of the outcomes of this effort will be the announcement of a unified brand identity and integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign to strengthen the perceptions of New York City around the world. The campaign will draw heavily upon New York’s unmatched base of private sector marketing expertise.”

The agencies either declined comment or referred calls to Fertitta, who, through a representative, also declined comment.