Aramark Picks Sharpe for Parks, Convention Interactive

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Aramark Corp., a provider of outsourced services, hired Sharpe Partners LLC, New York, as its interactive agency of record to promote its parks, convention and tourism services.

The move consolidates the number of agencies working on Aramark interactive assignments nationwide. Billings were not disclosed.

"They had digital agencies at their local level, and they wanted to consolidate them," said Kathy Sharpe, CEO of her self-named agency.

Sharpe said there was no pitch process. Joseph DiVincenzo, vice president of marketing convention and tourism services at Aramark, called the agency, she said. Sharpe has clients like Fuji Photo Film USA, The Minute Maid Co. and ExxonMobil. Capitalized billings were $10 million last year.

Aramark has tasked Sharpe to provide online strategy, media buying, creative and usability research to boost the $8.8 billion company's online presence.

"I think the challenge is being prepared for the travel consumer who is emerging right now who prepares and plans their travel predominantly online," Sharpe said.

Work begins with Aramark's property in Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona. Lake Tahoe will follow. The agency will handle online marketing for 14 national parks operations managed by Aramark, including Ellis Island and Denali National Park & Preserve. The campaign date has not been set.

Aramark, Philadelphia, offers food and dining, lodging, event planning, and hospitality and retail merchandise services at convention centers, parks, resorts and other destinations it manages. The company has 200,000 employees in 17 countries.

"You don't think of going to Aramark, but you think of going to Denali, where many of the lodging and services are supplied by Aramark," Sharpe said. "So the long-term goal is to have the parks associated with the Aramark brand while still having the park brand."

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