Nat’l. Aquarium Ends 17-Year Run – With Trahan, Burden & Charles

After nearly two decades of doing business with Trahan, Burden & Charles, the National Aquarium of Baltimore has commenced an agency search.
The account, considered pro bono by many Baltimore agencies, actually has a $1 million budget, according to aquarium officials.
TBC, Baltimore, has declined to participate, according to principal Allan Charles.
In an unusual move for a Baltimore tourist attraction, the aquarium has placed its search with New York’s Advertising Agency Register. AAR officials could not be reached at press time about the review.
“After 17 years, I think this is the responsible thing to do,” said Denise London, senior director of marketing at the aquarium. “We grew up together,” she said, referring to TBC. “They were there with us from the beginning.” But, she added, “the No. 1 attraction in the state of Maryland needs to look around and see what’s available.” The search is confined to regional shops in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area.
London would not reveal which agencies had received questionnaires. She did say that she hopes to make a decision by the first week in October. London and other client officials were talking to agencies last week, according to a source.
“We will have a brand new exhibit in March,” she said. “I can’t yet tell you what it is, but it is going to require some significant marketing.”
Ironically, TBC has developed a 30-second spot that was so successful that it had to be taken off the air, according to Charles.
In the spot, a hungry cat wends its way around the aquarium before eyeing a big shark, then regales his alley friends with big fish stories. [See Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Creative in this issue.] “The aquarium had to take the spot off the air because the [visitor] lines were too long,” said Charles. “If they’re not happy with this spot . . . then we don’t know what they want.”