Mexico Tourism Business Up For Review

DALLAS-The Mexico Ministry of Tourism is preparing to launch a mandatory review of its estimated $10 million advertising account, currently handled by the Mexico City office of Noble/D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Carlos Hernandez, director of promotions for the ministry, is expected to formally launch the review in October, although undisclosed shops in Texas and California are already gearing up for the process, sources said. Hernandez could not be reached at press time.
A timetable has not been established for the review, but sources expect the ministry to issue a request for bids next month and select an agency in December.
Noble was initially awarded the account contract, which runs for two years, in 1995. The agency’s contract expires in December. Santiago Hinojosa, Noble managing director, said his shop is prepared to defend the business.
Noble created the current tagline, “Mexico. An endless journey.” The shop has produced print and TV ads that run in U.S. and Canadian markets, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and various cities in Texas.
Agencies have not been required to operate a Mexico City office in past pitches, Hinojosa said. However, he said, “It’s obviously an advantage in handling the day-to-day operations.”
The account, which has exceeded $20 million in the past, is currently valued at $10 million, according to Hinojosa.
Shops pitching the account during the 1995 review included the Mexico City offices of J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson. The ministry has also worked with smaller ad agencies, including The Atkins Agency of San Antonio, for specific destination efforts.
The direct response and public relations portions of the business are set for separate reviews, according to sources. -with Glen Fest