Dome bidder calls in O&M to handle £20m project

Dome Europe, one of two schemes competing to take over the Millennium Dome next year, has called in ad agency Ogilvy & Mather to develop its marketing strategy and handle its proposed £20m communications budget.

The proposals by Dome Europe, which is run by Japanese bank Nomura – also the UK’s largest pub operator – involve creating an “urban entertainment centre” with interactive games and attractions. These include “Yellow Submarine”- a virtual reality recreation of the Beatles film, and Hyperbowl – a virtual reality bowling alley.

Dome Europe is competing with Legacy, which plans to transform the Dome into a high technology industrial campus. Government ministers, including John Prescott, will decide on the winning bid over the summer.

Nomura is seeking substantial sponsorship from big brand names for the scheme, and has spoken to current sponsors of the Millennium Dome. Nomura says it would keep certain parts of the Dome, such as Home Planet.

A Nomura spokeswoman says the new venture would be similar to the Dome, “but it would be a lot more fun. More work will be done to improve it.”

The attractions will be managed and developed by Hyper Entertainment.

It forecasts attracting 5 million visitors a year, and would set up a website called e-dome, enabling users to play computer games with players at the Dome. Tickets would be roughly the same price as those presently charged at the Dome – £20, but would act as season tickets allowing entrance throughout the year and access to exclusive areas.

O&M has been called in after Ogilvy One did some work for Nomura. If the bid is successful, the agency will be responsible for a high profile marketing campaign valued at £20m a year. Business development director Jonathon Hall says: “The media representation of the Dome has been to its detriment, and we have to counter the negative perceptions by delivering something which exceeds expectations.”

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