Club Med switchs PR work from Burson-Marsteller to Susan Magrino

NEW YORK: Susan Magrino Agency has won the Club Med North America business as the tourist destination vows to ramp up its PR spending in the US.

NEW YORK: Susan Magrino Agency has won the Club Med North America business as the tourist destination vows to ramp up its PR spending in the US.

The company requested information from 10 agencies and fielded three finalist pitches.

Burson-Marsteller previously handled the account, and the agency repitched unsuccessfully, said Mark Wiser, VP of marketing. The Zimmerman Agency was the other finalist.

SMA will operate on a retainer basis, and its work will be evaluated after six months, Wiser said. He declined to disclose billings, but said, "Historically, the PR and publicity part of Club Med has been under-leveraged and taken a bit for granted. The budget ... is [at least] triple, but could be four to five times what we normally spend."

Wiser said that Club Med's corporate strategy is to push the business into an up-market direction and leverage the multi-cultural aspect. Club Med liked SMA's luxury brand portfolio, including Coach and Moet.

Club Med is currently embarking on a number of marketing initiatives, such as launching a teen program in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and reopening one of its largest villages on Martinique. Wiser said it would look to SMA for extensive media outreach surrounding these events.

EVP Michael Doneff will lead the five-person account.

"Club Med liked our experience in the travel sector and work with higher-end global brands," Doneff said. "It is making substantial [efforts] to upgrade its properties and is interested in our input for those [decisions]."

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