McGarryBowen Loses Chunk of Marriott Account to Grey

Dentsu-Owned Shop Retains Work For Other Brands Under the Hotel Chain

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WPP's Grey , New York, has picked up creative duties for Marriott Hotels & Resorts after a review, Ad Age has learned.

The shift to Grey is at the expense of McGarryBowen, the incumbent, which has had the account since 2003. Joanne Davis oversaw the pitch process.

Though McGarryBowen lost the work for Marriott International's flagship brand, it will continue to handle work for the company's other brands such as Courtyard, Fairfield Inn and Residence Inn. MEC handles the company's global media-buying and planning. PR is handled by WPP's Burson Marsteller, which picked up the business in April.

For McGarryBowen, saying goodbye to a significant chunk of its Marriott business comes on the heels of a disappointing August, when the agency's Chicago office lost the entire Bud Light account to Translation.

While it for a long while had what seemed to be an unbeatable winning streak, the agency now seems prone to more of the cyclical nature of the ad business that brings account losses in equal measure as wins. The shop has had some high points though, such as landing on the P&G roster as the creative agency for the Aussie Hair Care line this year. It also picked up the global Honda business via the agency's London Office, and in May, McGarryBowen's Chicago office picked up the account.

In the final round of the Marriott pitch, there were a trio of contenders: Grey , its WPP sibling JWT and incumbent McGarryBowen.

"As a trusted agency partner to Marriott since 2003, we are proud to continue to serve as lead agency partner for Marriott Rewards, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn and Suites," said agency co-founder Gordon Bowen in a statement. "We are equally proud of the work we've done together for Marriott Hotels & Resorts and wish them continued success."

Marriott could not be immediately reached for comment. It's not a big measured-media spender, but it is a global hospitality brand with a large footprint.

Landing on Marriott's roster follows Grey parting ways with its longtime Dairy Queen client earlier this month -- a separation that sent agencies all across adland scrambling to get on the list to pitch the restaurant brand. This win helps to soften that blow.

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