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When Atlanta-based Pringle Dixon Pringle successfully pitched the $1 million South Seas Plantation account, the agency offered a unique twist.

The compensation plan included an incentive for each room booked over the previous year (AA, Feb. 8, 1993).

Since the first campaign broke 15 months ago, results for the 330-acre upscale Captiva Island resort, 16 miles west of Fort Myers, Fla., have been better than expected.

Said outgoing Pringle Vice Chairman Jobie Dixon: "Our incentive plan worked out very well. We got a base fee plus a bonus. Room bookings increased 6% while we predicted a 5% increase ... They had one of their highest seasons, equal to or surpassing the record year of 1988."

Direct response TV spots on the Weather Channel and Travel Channel, timed to the North's snowy and cold winter, generated more than 10,000 calls. Print ads broke in February in major magazines and the Sunday travel sections of newspapers including The New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

Direct mail also went to past guests.

Mr. Dixon said the plan worked. "While Florida tourism was down, we did OK," he said.

Randy Miller, South Seas VP-sales and marketing, said: "Our average [room] rate was higher as well as our occupancy and revenue. For the first time, we [met our] budget [projections]. When we went on TV in January, our cost per inquiry was the best ever. It almost doubled our [previous] best magazine response."

A greater emphasis will be placed on color image ads in the U.S. in the next round, Mr. Miller said.

The idea has caught the interest of current Pringle public relations client Diversified Products, an Atlanta sports recreation equipment marketer, which is negotiating an incentive arrangement.

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