Marlins Remain With Courtney

Merger With Rampage Interactive Studios Helps Save the Win
ATLANTA–Courtney & Watson Advertising’s recent merger with Rampage Interactive Studios helped the agency retain the advertising account of the Florida Marlins.
“We now incorporate the best of online and offline culture,” said Cliff Courtney, the Miami agency’s executive vice president. “What won this account is a single-voice account strategy, from television to Internet to grass roots.”
The National League baseball team has a new owner in commodities expert John Henry, who purchased the franchise prior to the 1999 season. It has a new head of sales and marketing, Julio Rebull, whose JGR & Associates was sold to another Miami shop, Beber Silverstein & Partners, in 1997.
Rebull said the Florida Marlins talked to more than 40 agencies before hearing pitches from five Florida shops: BVK/Mecca, Tinsley Advertising and Young & Rubicam, all Miami; CreatAbility in Coral Gables; and the William Harris Agency in Pompano Beach.
“It wasn’t a creative shootout. We didn’t want that,” Rebull said. “We wanted to get into people’s minds and find out how they thought, about baseball, about the Marlins, about marketing. We needed to get re-engaged with the fans.”
The Marlins previous owner, H. Wayne Huizenga, angered fans when he traded away many of the Miami team’s best players to slash the payroll after it won the 1997 World Series. Henry, Rebull said, is much more “of a real baseball fan . . . committed to getting the Marlins back into [contention].”
“We’re not just here to try and sell tickets; we’re trying to build faith,” Courtney said. “Faith in the team, faith there will be a new stadium, faith in the community. You don’t have to win everything to build faith, you just have to play with a lot of heart, and the Marlins have a hungry, young team.”
Rebull said the Marlin’s ad budget is $1 million, but “I’m a big believer in spending money on advertising, and I would not be surprised to see it go higher than that.” A source said the 2000 budget was more likely to top $2 million.
Courtney said the newly merged Courtney & Watson/Rampage was formed “to stay ahead of the curve.” It recently hired a president and chief executive officer, Celeste De Armas, previously a senior vice president at Nestlƒ’. She shares partnership status with Courtney and executive vice president Steve Watson.