- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2003

Maryland’s Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts has received six proposals for its advertising contract.

The contract, worth an estimated $5.5 million, is for one year. That is different from the multiyear contract the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), which oversees the agency, has offered in the past.

The contenders include the Campbell Group, which has partnered with minority-owned 21st Century Group, GKV Communications, which has joined with an undisclosed minority-owned agency, and Euro RSCG Brann, which has teamed up with public relations firm Wills & Associates. All five agencies are in Baltimore.

Herrmann Advertising Design/Communications, a woman-owned agency in Annapolis, also has submitted a proposal as the prime contractor for the account. The other two agencies are undisclosed.

The state’s request for a proposal requires firms to share some of the work with a minority-owned business.

Incumbent Trahan, Burden & Charles (TBC), which had the account for the past five years, did not participate.

“We decided we did not want to rebid it,” said TBC Chief Executive Sandy Hillman.

When the state put up the account for review at the end of last year, the business and development department recommended TBC. But the three-year contract with two one-year renewable options — worth about $30 million total — was pulled before the Board of Public Works could approve it.

The state, which has budget concerns, was looking to save money. The original multiyear contract was scrapped and a one-year contract was drawn up instead, says Tori Leonard, a DBED spokeswoman.

The department still is determining which advertising services can be performed in-house and what responsibilities the winning bidder would have.

Other Baltimore agencies, such as Carton Donofrio Partners Inc. and Eisner Communications, did not participate in the review. Sources said that bidding for a one-year state contract wasn’t worth it.

“One year does not allow an agency, who is not the incumbent, to get up to speed [on the account],” said Ron Owens, a local advertising consultant.

It could take six to nine months before a new agency could be effective. By then, DBED will be preparing to issue a new request for proposal, he said.

“It’s not really fair to the agency, and [DBED] is doing a disservice to themselves,” Mr. Owens said.

DBED officials are evaluating the proposals, which were due Oct. 20, and expect to make a decision in January. The Board of Public Works will make the final approval.

Heat image

Ever wonder what heat looks like?

The Martin Agency thinks it has found the answer in its new campaign for the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

The objective was to show how clean oil heat is and help change the perception that oil is an outdated heat source.

The Richmond agency decided that oil heat would be represented as “a flowing, comforting white entity that moves through space,” said Steve Bassett, creative director.

The TV spot features a modern family in its daily routine. The heat is represented by a light, white fog that wraps around objects in the house and interacts with the family.

“The challenge was to take a product that people feel and visualize it,” said Mr. Bassett, adding that special software helped create the effect.

The radio ads use two kinds of music to showcase what heat is and what clean means.

For example, the sound of a boys choir represents “clean,” while heavy metal music represents “heat.” The two musical treatments are meshed to produce a musical sound that flows — showing what happens when “clean” and “heat” are put together.

The ads began running last month and will run through December. They will pick up again for another three-month stint beginning in late February.

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

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