Busch Seeks SeaWorld Concepts

Busch Entertainment is talking to several agencies in search of a creative concept that positions SeaWorld as a place where people can connect with nature, company executives said.

The theme-park division of Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, is considering ideas from both A-B roster shops and outside agencies, said Michael LaBroad, Busch Entertainment’s vice president of corporate branding. He said about six shops are involved.

Incumbent GSD&M, Austin, Texas, is among those invited to pitch concepts. LaBroad declined to identify other shops but said they are of various sizes and that the com pany is looking at a wide range of work.

“We are looking at some scary reels for us and some conservative work,” he said.

Busch spends about $10-15 million on SeaWorld a year, according to CMR.

LaBroad declined to classify the search as a review. He instead likened it to the creative jump balls that A-B keeps in the air for the agencies handling its various beer accounts.

“We just want to see what cre ative concepts are out there for SeaWorld,” La Broad said. “Tapping into different resources allows us to gain a different perspective.”

A decision is expected before summer, with the new campaign slated to break in the fourth quarter.

In 2000, A-B realigned assignments for its various theme parks among DDB and GSD&M. The Texas agency received all the SeaWorld business. DDB handles Busch Gardens, Discover Cove, Sesame Place, Water Country USA and Adventure Island.

GSD&M’s last campaign for SeaWorld broke in March 2001 with two 30-second spots featuring nostalgic footage of trips to the park, set to the Cat Stevens song “The Wind.”

The tagless ads showed children watching a show by Shamu, the park’s killer whale; petting dolphins; and taking roller-coaster rides. The words, “Childhood lasts approximately 4,320 days” flashed on the screen, followed by, “Which ones will your child remember?”

SeaWorld’s television commercials typically center around music and contain little dialogue. Past spots had an upbeat feel and featured the song “What I Like About You” by The Romantics.

In addition to DDB and GSD&M, A-B works with agencies including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco; Fusion Idea Lab, Chicago; Red Advertising and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Bos ton; Waylon Advertising, St. Louis; and Dieste, Dallas, which works on Hispanic marketing. DDB and Good by also handle Bud and Bud Light.