Mexico Tourism Board moves account to MSLGroup

The Mexico Tourism Board has selected MSLGroup to handle its international PR efforts for the next 24 months. Ogilvy Public Relations was the incumbent on the account.

NEW YORK: The Mexico Tourism Board has selected MSLGroup to handle its international PR efforts for the next 24 months. Ogilvy Public Relations was the incumbent on the account.

“The assignment will cover a variety of public relations and related activities over the next two years, with a strategic objective of strengthening Mexico's image as a premier destination for tourism and growing visitors to the diverse destinations across the country,” MSL and the Mexico Tourism Board said in a joint statement.

They declined to offer any additional information on the account. While an exact budget was not revealed, the account's value had extended well into the million-dollar range in the past.

An Ogilvy spokesperson said in a statement that the firm is “grateful for the two and a half years we had supporting Mexico under the prior government contract, which expired this summer.”

The WPP Group firm did not re-pitch for the business.

“During the time we held the account, we learned and shared with the world how amazing Mexico is as both a tourist destination and a rising economic power, and we were gratified to see our work help Mexico break back-to-back records in tourist arrivals,” the Ogilvy spokesperson added.

In recent years, Mexico has been forced to deal with reports that tourist areas were threatened by drug-related violence. Incidents of violence had Mexican officials “scrambling for ways to minimize damage to an industry that is a top income-earner and employer” in the country, according to a February report in the Los Angeles Times.

At the end of September, the Mexico Tourism Board launched a $10 million advertising campaign called “Vallarta - Nayarit. Live it to Believe it!” The initiative is promoting the destinations of Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta to both domestic and international markets.

The Tourism Board gave Ogilvy the assignment of creating a new communications strategy touting the country as a luxury travel destination in March. This summer, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said private companies were investing $8.6 billion in tourism projects in Mexico over the next three years, focusing on building and improving hotels, as well as public spaces in the country.

In November 2011, shortly after winning the account, Ogilvy worked with the tourism board on a US campaign called The Mexico Taxi Project, which used a hidden-camera concept to highlight the country as a tourism destination in a humorous way. The budget for the initiative was about $2.5 million.

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