TBWA Hunt Lascaris has won the South African government’s $30 million global ad account to promote tourism over the next three years, following a six-way pitch.

The unsuccessful finalists were incumbent Ogilvy & Mather Rightford, local independent The Agency for Advertising & Marketing, Bates in Africa, Saatchi & Saatchi and HerdBuoys McCann-Erickson.

TBWA has two given goals: to raise the number of tourist arrivals 10% by 2003; and to produce a domestic campaign (accounting for 20% of the budget) encouraging South Africans to be more receptive to tourism. Commented SA Tourism chairman Saki Macozoma: “The contract will be subject to satisfactory achievement of targets.”

Hunt Lascaris based its pitch on the sense of self-renewal the country could instil in a visitor, using the tagline ‘Discover SA. Rediscover yourself”. Two further things were crucial in the selection, added Macozoma – “empowerment credentials and the capacity to do the work.”

“Empowerment” in this context means that a shop is part-owned by black investors and conducts affirmative action programmes. Yet, paradoxically, Hunt Lascaris is totally owned by TBWA, in contrast to rival finalists The Agency (74% black-owned), Saatchi & Saatchi (51% black-owned) and HerdBuoys (managed by black executives).

It is thought that Hunt Lascaris will make a major announcement about its ‘empowerment’ in the near future – it is pitching for the account of South African Airways, which has specified a minimum of 26% black ownership for competing agencies.

News source: AdAge Global