New Orleans Tourism Taps Mayer

The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. has awarded its three-year, $15 million advertising account to Peter A. Mayer Advertising.

Mayer, supported by minority shop G.Mc&Co. of New Orleans, defeated incumbent Montgomery Stire & Partners here and The Graham Group in Laf-ayette, La.

“In Mayer, we found an agency that understands tourism destination marketing,” said Sandra Shilstone, executive director at the client. “We were impressed that their creative recognized that New Orleans is a sensual city.”

The win makes Mayer of New Orleans the dominant tourism shop in Louisiana. With billings nearing $56 million this year, it is also agency of record for Louisiana tourism and the Aquarium of the Americas.

Agency president Mark Mayer said the city account would not conflict with the state tourism business.

“There are commonalities of interest, but we will staff the accounts separately,” he said.

MS&P principal Frank Stire said losing the 14-year tourism client would result in two or three layoffs from his 15-person staff. MS&P billings are $13 million this year.

“It was a good account for us,” Stire said. “We grew as an agency and we think New Orleans prospered because of our marketing plan.”

Shilstone said her review committee unanimously chose Mayer because of its creative strategy and its skill in using new media.

“Last year, 20 percent of all travel decisions were made over the Internet,” said Shilstone. “This year, that number is 40 percent.”