Grey Rebuilding S.F. Zoo’s Brand

Grey’s office here, best known for its business-to-business advertising, is venturing into an area that may seem tame by comparison.

The agency is currently developing a pro-bono broadcast and print campaign for the San Francisco Zoo to launch this spring. The shop is managing the strategic and creative elements; MediaCom, a division of New York’s Grey Global Group, will handle media services. The ad budget was not disclosed.

Grey executives said they will use their experience with such clients as Oracle and 24 Hour Fitness to help the zoo become known as a conservation and education center as well as a home for animals.

“Just as we’re rebuilding the physical infrastructure of the zoo, we feel this is an appropriate time to rebuild the San Francisco Zoo brand,” said client marketing director Kate Mesmer. She added that Grey’s experience with a range of clients helped it win the account.

Alan Randolph, agency evp and creative director, said the zoo’s decision to choose Grey validates the improvements the shop has made to its creative work.

“We’ve been delivering exceptional work for a unique variety of clients, and those efforts are now being rewarded,” Randolph said.

The zoo’s extensive remodeling project involves updating habitats to create environments that approximate the animals’ natural surroundings. Agency creatives said the new habitats will help people understand the importance of the environment. Among the new additions is an area featuring such Latin American creatures as giant anteaters, an Andean condor and capybaras, the world’s largest rodents.

There is also an area called the “Australian WalkAbout,” featuring animals from the outback.

Another new addition is the Children’s Center, featuring an expanded children’s zoo and a home for animals used in an education and outreach program.

“[The zoo’s] goal is for every visitor to experience firsthand the principles and practical applications of conservation in ways that will impact their lives,” Randolph said.

Overall, the zoo is home to more than 250 species of exotic and domestic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

Grey’s San Francisco office has 68 employees and billings of $185 million. Among its other clients are the Internet search engine Ask Jeeves.