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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.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

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.

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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.


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