Ad account that includes tourism draws 5 bids

Recommendation, choice to come from a short list

January 04, 2003|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

The state's Department of Business and Economic Development received five bids for its $35 million advertising account, which includes Maryland tourism, an official said yesterday.

Baltimore-based Trahan, Burden & Charles Inc., which has held the account for the past five years, is among those agencies competing for the high-profile business.

The state account includes DBED's Office of Tourism Development and the Office of Business Development. The segments could be handled by different companies. One segment would cover consumer marketing and advertising while the other would provide business-to-business marketing and advertising

"It's quite a specialized account," said Dan Gundersen, assistant secretary for business development with the state Department of Business and Economic Development. "We're looking to meet two different needs. There aren't too many firms that can meet both needs."

The pending contract covers three years with two, one-year renewable options. The state's tourism division targets leisure travelers, while the business development office focuses on business-to-business marketing.

Business development advertising is expected to take a slightly different spin than in the past, Gundersen said. Instead of focusing on quality of life and work force, the new message will concentrate on low cost as well.

"If we can't grab them on the cost up front, we can't readily convince the companies of the overriding positives of the quality of life and the skilled work force," Gundersen said.

Due yesterday, the proposals are expected to be narrowed to a short list and then a recommendation made by early March, Gundersen said. The contract would then likely go before the state's Board of Public Works for final approval in April or May, he said. The new contract would start July 1.

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