Aruba Changes Mind

Two weeks after The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., was awarded the Aruba Tourism Authority account, that island’s Council of Ministers has reversed the decision and returned the $7-10 million business to the incumbent, Fitzgerald & Co. here.
“Fitzgerald has been an outstanding creative and strategic partner for the past three years,” said Jan Van Nes, director of the tourism authority. “While we commend The Martin Agency for their presentation and initial attention to our account, we believe the right decision for the future of Aruba is to resume our successful relationship with Fitzgerald.”
Van Nes said the switch came after pressure from the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association and other groups.
As of late last week, officials at Martin had not heard from the client.
“As far as we know, we went down to pitch the account, we won the account and we’ve got the business,” said Martin vice chairman Kerry Feuerman. “If for any reason that were to change, we would have to say we wish [Fitzgerald] the best, and we are glad the business is with a sister [Interpublic Group of Cos.] agency.”
At the time Martin was hired (Adweek, Feb. 15), Van Nes was on record as opposing the need for a review. He pointed to Fitzgerald’s work as instrumental in making the U.S. the only country showing an increase in travel to Aruba. Calls to the ministry were not returned at press time.
“I’ve been in the business 25 years and I’ve never heard of anything like this,” said agency president Dave Fitzgerald. “When we lost the account, it was like losing a member of the family. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Aruba.”