- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is searching for an advertising agency to handle an annual anti-aggressive-driving campaign in Maryland, Virginia and the District.
The advertising and marketing campaign for the "Smooth Operator" initiative is worth up to $3.5 million over the next three years, with a possible two-year extension, for the winning agency, said Caryn Coyle, manager of communications at the MVA.
The joint advertising campaign is funded by federal money given to all three jurisdictions.
Request for proposals were sent out to ad agencies on Nov. 19 and responses are due by Dec. 13. The incumbent agency is Design House of the District.
Ms. Coyle says the MVA, which is handling the review on behalf of the program, will have to work quickly to choose an agency. By mid-January the agency will have to start buying media placements for the summer, when the advertising campaign usually runs.
"We are on a fast track," Ms. Coyle says.
Smooth Operator targets aggressive driving from running a red light and speeding to unsafe lane changes and following another vehicle too closely. The initiative, which began in 1997, takes place from May to August in four one-week increments. Law enforcement agencies target offenders throughout Maryland, the District and Northern Virginia.
The first advertising and public awareness campaign began in 2000. The majority of the advertising is done on the radio, Ms. Coyle says.
"We want to reach people while they are in the car while they are doing that aggressive driving," she says.
Shopping local
The Maryland Retailers Association has extended its holiday ad campaign to Washington.
The new campaign, which features 30-second ads encouraging Maryland residents to shop locally this season, was to air just on Baltimore's WJZ-TV (Channel 13). However, retailers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties wanted the metropolitan Washington area to see the message, too.
Beginning this week, the ads will start running on WJLA-TV (Channel 7). The ads on WJZ-TV started in mid-November. The commercials are airing in both markets mainly during the morning news programs and the daytime programming.
About 35 retailers have signed on for the campaign, which will run through mid-December.
The first half of each ad has a vignette promoting the state's stores, with the tag line "ShopMaryland for the Holidays." The remaining 15 seconds feature different retailers, who have paid $300 each to have their names and locations included. Some retailers, such as Arundel Mills, have paid nearly $4,000 to have the second half of the 30-second spot devoted exclusively to their location.
MTA picks new agency
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has selected the Campbell Group of Baltimore to handle the public transportation agency's advertising and marketing.
The contract award will not be final until reviewed and approved by the state's Board of Public Works. The contract is worth up to $4.5 million over three years and also includes the option of two, one-year extensions.
The hunt for a new firm came after the MTA's former ad agency, the Reeves Agency, shut down in January 2001. MTA did not have an agency for more than a year before starting the selection process in February.
The MTA is expected to present the contract to the Board of Public Works by the end of the year.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.


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