McCann-Erickson has been appointed by P&O European Ferry to handle its &£4m P&O Portsmouth account.
The agency won the account following a two-way pitch between McCann and the incumbent Senior King. Senior King held the business on a full-service basis, for five years.
At the same time, Universal McCann has picked up the media buying business and McCann Relationship Marketing (MRM) will handle the ferry operator’s integrated communications.
The agency appointment coincides with the ferry company being hit by the abolition of duty free. According to the most recent results for holding company Pen+Orientl Steam, P&O Ferries’ operating profit for the year ending March 15, 2001 was &£20.1m, down from &£60m the previous year.
Paul Barringer, head of passenger sales and marketing at P&O says the company has followed the more traditional route of television and radio campaigns but now plans to review where and how its budget is spent. It may embark on more below-the-line work as part of a plan to develop fully integrated strategic campaigns.
“The ferry industry is just getting over the loss of duty free. We are coming back slowly and need to build on our successes,” says Barringer.
P&O Portsmouth runs a fleet of six ferries, including the fastcraft Portsmouth Express and its flagship Pride of Bilbao, to the French ports Le Havre and Cherbourg and the Northern Spanish port of Bilbao.
McCann-Erickson is expected to launch its first work for P&O in September with the main 2002 campaign breaking this autumn.