DraftFCB Wins SeaWorld Account

New York Office Tapped to Handle Theme Parks Including Busch Gardens

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With summer vacation on the horizon and family vacations set to begin, DraftFCB's New York office has picked up agency-of -record duties for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which operates SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

Peter Drakoulias
Peter Drakoulias

The win for DraftFCB's New York office came after a client-led review. The work for the better part of a decade had been done by Omnicom Group's DDB and Interpublic's Momentum , which is part of McCann Worldgroup. It was believed that much of the work in 2011 was consolidated at Momentum prior to the review.

Peter Drakoulias, DraftFCB's global chief of staff who earlier this year added business development to his duties after Global Chief Growth officer Nick Paul left the agency, said that the agency work will likely focus marketing on showing the theme parks as more than just amusement parks. "I think it's just about bringing out the assets that are already there in a way that lets parents know this is a both fun and educational option for their families."

Performing bottlenose dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando
Performing bottlenose dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando

Jim Atchison, president-CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, noted in a statement that the company is looking to "expand recognition of our parks" and is "investing in an extraordinary level of capital expansion" as it looks to DraftFCB for its "in-depth knowledge of moms and families." The goal: To "cultivate a new level of global consumer awareness for our company."

DraftFCB's work will be in TV, radio, print and digital, and new campaigns are expected in early 2013. Omnicom's OMD handles media.

The company spends the most of its measured media budget on Sea World, allocating $34.3 million on it in 2011 out of its total $47.5 million, according to Kantar. The theme-park operator spent about $9.3 million on Busch Gardens.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is owned by private-equity firm Blackstone, with smaller parks including Discovery Cove and Sesame Place Amusement Park. A-B InBev previously owned the theme parks, but in 2009 sold them to Blackstone. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment owns and operates 10 parks in Florida, California, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

New business for DraftFCB is a priority, and the account is a welcome one, as the agency's Chicago office last year lost SC Johnson and just earlier this month lost its entire MillerCoors account, which included Miller Lite, Coors Light and Coors Banquet. Much of DraftFCB's New York work is in health care, although it's looking to increase its consumer client list; other consumer brands at DraftFCB New York include Kraft's Oreo, Fischer-Price and Gerber.

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