Davidandgoliath Triumphs in Theme-Park Pitch

After spending its first two years in business focusing almost exclusively on one client, davidandgoliath is no longer in danger of becoming a one-trick pony.

The theme-park division of Universal Studios last week awarded the 65-person Los Angeles shop the creative portion of its $30-40 million account, which covers two attractions in Orlando, Fla. DDB Entertainment will continue to handle media.

“We were as ecstatic as hell,” said David Angelo, agency chief creative director. He and his partner, COO Skip Sullivan, said the win springboards the shop to a higher realm among West Coast agencies.

“It really shows that we are here for the long run,” said Sullivan.

The shop will, of course, continue to handle creative on the $120 million Kia Motors America account, the business that enabled the admen to plant their flag in L.A. in 1999. Still, adding what Angelo describes as “another big brand name” has significance beyond the added billings.

The shop was widely regarded as a dark horse in a pitch that included agencies with more experience and prominence. Angelo also said Universal was davidandgoliath’s first new-business pitch.

The Richards Group in Dallas was a finalist. Other shops in the hunt included Doner in Southfield, Mich; McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C.; The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and Deutsch in New York. The incumbent, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, did not participate.

“When you look at the other agencies [in the pitch], it really puts things in perspective,” said Sullivan, who helped launch Toyota’s Lexus brand after joining Team One Advertising in 1988.

“We were excited by the creative they presented and their high energy,” said Jim Yeager, svp of public relations for Universal Studios Recreation Group.

“It’s a huge victory for us,” said Angelo, former executive creative director at Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York. “It’s a real morale builder.”