Via and Hill, Holliday Among ASC Hopefuls

SAN FRANCISCO American Skiing Co., operator of seven ski resorts nationwide, is reviewing agencies for its $20 million account, the client said.

After considering 15 agencies, the Park City, Utah-based company has narrowed the search to shops including incumbents Via, Portland, Maine, and Blitz Media, Middletown, N.Y. New contenders are Omnicom’s DDB and Interpublic’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, both in San Francisco; Omnicom’s BBDO, New York; Publicis, Salt Lake City and New York; and Havas’ Euro RSCG in New York, according to Jim Lacey, svp of sales and marketing at ASC. The review is for creative and media buying, Lacey said.

The client is looking for a full-service agency to handle a campaign encompassing TV, radio and print, as well as PR and events marketing. The focus will be on next year’s ski business, though the company operates its resorts year-round.

Previous ad work was handled on a regional basis, Lacey said. The client’s properties are: Killington and Mount Snow in Vermont, Sunday River and Surgarloaf in Maine, Attitash Bear Peak in New Hampshire, The Canyons in Utah and Steamboat Springs in Colorado.

Via’s recent Sugarloaf commercials have featured intentionally shaky camera work, hip music and MTV-style quick cutting, all designed to help the ads stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Lacey said the company has budgeted $20 million for advertising, and that number may increase.

ASC will hear creative presentations next week; a final decision is expected by mid-April.