In a major advertising coup, DMB&B has snared the multi-million-dollar Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) account to promote the country worldwide in the run-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The account is worth more than $150 million in annual billings to the agency. DMB&B beat 11 other multinational agencies after a comprehensive presentation campaign that took more than six months. The agency was short-listed with McCann-Erickson, J Walter Thompson (JWT) and Young and Rubicam. The four-year deal involves marketing and promoting the country as a tourist destination up to and during the Olympics. The ATC will spend about $152 million annually on thematic advertising with DMB&B and another $152 million in tactical advertising with partner agencies - for state tourism and airline advertising. Asia, excluding Japan, accounted for nearly a third of Australia's 3.7 million visitors last year. About $30 million of the annual advertising budget, primarily for television advertising, will be spent in the region. The account is significant because one agency now holds the account; previously it was shared in different regions by JWT (Asia), McCann-Erickson (Japan), Saatchi & Saatchi (New Zealand) and DMB&B (Europe and the United States). Stefanie Cross-Wilson, DMB&B's director of regional accounts, said: 'It shows our abilities to understand the ATC's future needs on a global basis, and it's a great accolade. We are looking forward to marketing the ATC worldwide and putting 'brand Australia' on the map in the run-up to the 2000 Olympics.' Glenn Myatt, the ATC's consumer marketing manager in Asia, said the commission decided two years ago to move away from its decentralised approach, where each region was separate. Mr Myatt said the ATC aimed to standardise its approach and internally co-ordinate different marketing programmes, advertising development, research and planning. He said DMB&B impressed the commission with its strategic planning for Asia. Last year, Australia had 1.1 million Asian visitors. 'We felt that DMB&B's plans took us forward. Part of our brief was to look four or five years ahead and they provided us with some good insight into the region,' Mr Myatt said. 'Having the Olympics in Sydney is obviously a focus of our marketing programme and they showed, on a global basis, the best understanding of that. With them we can develop sponsors and other global partners and media opportunities that they could leverage on our behalf.' Mr Myatt said the number of Hong Kong visitors to Australia was up 20 per cent last year, to 120,000. He expected similar growth this year but the territory remained a small market. The Asia portion of the account will be run through DMB&B's Hong Kong office, with input from its regional offices.