San Diego Zoo Rehires Its Old Ad Agency : Marketing: The outfit gave its $3-million business to Phillips-Ramsey. It’s a blow to Franklin & Associates, which has had the account for two years.


The San Diego Zoo, perhaps the most high-profile advertiser in San Diego, on Monday unexpectedly handed its estimated $3-million advertising business back to the same agency that lost it two years ago--Phillips-Ramsey.

The move is a big loss for Franklin & Associates, which pulled an upset when it won the account in 1988. For Phillips-Ramsey, which built a national reputation creating zoo ads for nearly two decades, the win is an enormous morale booster.

“I’m totally stunned by this,” said Robert J. Kwait, executive vice president at Philips-Ramsey. “To win the zoo account back puts us all on cloud nine.” San Diego-based Franklin officials did not return phone calls late Monday.

The win, which takes effect immediately, may once again give Phillips-Ramsey bragging rights to being the top agency in San Diego. Besides the zoo, it has also won back the ad business for the San Diego Wild Animal Park.


Attendance at the zoo in 1990 has been off a substantial 8% from 1989. That’s about 265,000 fewer visitors. But zoo officials say that is not the reason they are switching agencies. “Two years ago we needed a different direction,” said Jeff Jouett, director of public relations. “We have had another re-evaluation, and we feel Phillips-Ramsey is a different agency now.” Part of that difference is that Phillips-Ramsey has been acquired by the giant New York agency McCann-Erickson Worldwide, which creates ads for Coca-Cola. The zoo now needs an agency that can give it “a national and international reach,” said Doug Myers, executive director.

The agency has no plans to hire new employees.