- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2001

The Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corp. is searching for a new advertising agency to handle its more than $1.8 million account.

The bureau already has sifted through nearly 30 proposals from advertising agencies spanning the region from Baltimore to West Virginia and plans to notify three to six finalists next week. Those agencies will make oral presentations on Aug. 2.

"We hope to have a contract signed shortly there after," says Julie Heizer, director of tourism for the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corp.

The bureau is looking for an agency that will handle the creative work for primarily consumer leisure travel, with other marketing and advertising geared toward the convention center.

About $1.2 million will be spent on tourism advertising and $600,000 will be spent on convention sales and direct mail pieces. About $50,000 is allocated to membership development and another $25,000 will be used to promote the convention center's grand opening.

Ms. Heizer says the theme "Washington, DC, the American Experience" will be incorporated into any new creative work by the agency.

The contract is good for one year with the option to renew for three more years.

The Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corp. was formed in April after the Washington, DC Convention and Visitors Association merged with the D.C. Committee to Promote Washington.

Ocean City outreach

Ocean City is tuning in to midweek getaways.

The Maryland summer vacation hot spot began a radio campaign earlier this month to promote Ocean City as the place to be in the middle of the week.

"We want to remind people we're open seven days a week," says Donna Abbott, a spokeswoman for Ocean City's Department of Tourism. "Midweek has always been a target. That's where we have room for more growth."

The 60-second spot is being aired on 14 different radio stations in Washington, Baltimore and the Harrisburg/Lancaster/ York markets.

Usually the tourism department focuses its advertising dollars on television spots that air in the spring to target vacationers planning their summer trips.

The current campaign, which includes some print, costs $30,000 and is scheduled to run at least through the end of this month.

New firms in town

• Edmonds Hackney and Associates Inc., a new political media firm, opened for business last month.

Founding partners Tom Edmonds and Art Hackney will provide strategic counseling and full-service media production and placement to Republican candidates and conservative organizations.

Mr. Edmonds, a former president of the American Association of Political Consultants, serves as chief executive, while Mr. Hackney, who was an adviser to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush is president. The Capitol Hill firm has six full-time employees.

• Canadian public relations firm Environics Communications has opened an office in Washington. The local office, serving the Baltimore/ Washington market, will be headed up by Dave Groobert, who most recently was a senior managing director in the Washington office of Hill & Knowlton.

Environics, which has offices in Montreal, Toronto and Stamford, has local clients including the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and Sylvan Learning Centers.

New wins

• O'Keefe & Co. Inc. has added Hewlett-Packard Public Sector Organization to its client list. The Rockville-based division will work with the McLean-based marketing consulting agency to sharpen its public relations strategy.

• WebAdvantage.net, an e-marketing, advertising and public relations firm in Aberdeen, Md., will handle online marketing efforts for ConsumerReports.org, the Internet version of the Consumer Unions' Consumer Reports magazine.

• Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other week.

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