BBDO Beats Burnett To Win Hyatt Hotels — New York Agency Bests Hometown Favorite To Check in With $25-Million Account

NEW YORK – Despite what many observers saw as a strong desire for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels to keep its account in its own backyard, the pitching powers of BBDO and the emergence of marketing head James Evans as a key player in the review enabled the agency to lure the $25-million account here.
BBDO, which presented after Burnett on April 19, is said to have ‘floored’ Hyatt president Darryl Hartley-Leonard with its creative. Burnett pitched the theme ‘Feel the Hyatt Difference,’ but sources said its effort lacked a cohesive strategy.
As a decision came due, a management shuffle also influenced, as well as stalled a decision.
In the end, it came down to a battle of two camps. Sources close to the review said that Marc Yanofsky, former senior vp/marketing, who led the search early on, and ad director Marv Pollack, a former Burnett executive, were said to be leaning towards Burnett. However, two weeks ago, Hartley-Leonard named Yanofsky to the position of senior vp-business development and promoted Evans to senior vp/marketing.
Evans, in his new role, took the lead in the process along with Hartley-Leonard, who favored BBDO.
A shakeup within the marketing department was ‘absolutely, one of the reasons it’s taken so long,’ said Evans of the six-month long pitch.
During the last three weeks of the review, Burnett was asked to return for what one executive close to the pitch described as a ‘second chance.’
‘They asked us to go back and provide more research and explain the strategy behind the campaign,’ said one Burnett source. ‘I believe (we were) the only agency asked to go back after the initial pitch.’
The decision is a blow not only to Burnett, widely seen as the front-runner for the business, but also to the Chicago ad community. Hyatt’s previous move to Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos/Boston had been mourned as a key loss of a major local advertiser.
For BBDO offices, the Hyatt win is the fourth in just one month. BBDO/N.Y. picked up the $20 million ADT Security Systems’ account and BBDO/L.A. nabbed the 20th Century Fox’ $53 million media buying business. Recently, Chrysler consolidated some $400 million in media buying at what will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of BBDO/Detroit.
Ogilvy & Mather/New York had been a third finalist for the business, but Hyatt last month asked the agency to withdraw. A company spokesperson said at the time the request was made because ‘we didn’t think O&M could win and we felt it would be unfair’ for it to to spend more on the pursuit.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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