Bay State Launches New Review Officials Seek Contenders for Business Development Account



By David Gianatasio





BOSTON–The Massachusetts Department of Economic Development has placed the advertising account of the state’s Office of Business Development in review.





The annual budget is expected to be between $500,000 and $2 million, subject to legislative appropriation.





The account is reviewed regularly, and the current competition does not reflect on the performance of five-year incumbent Houston Herstek Favat.





Executives at Houston Herstek Favat have chosen not to defend the account, said agency chairman Doug Houston last week. He declined to elaborate on the reasoning for that decision.





The business development pitch comes on the heels of the recently completed review for the $4-10 million advertising business of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, which is also overseen by the Department of Economic Development.





Although it has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, Houston Herstek Favat was dogged by allegations of billings improprieties during the tourism review (Adweek, May 26). That competition saw Houston WHerstek unseated by Holland Mark Martin in Boston. Ingalls Advertising and Pagano Schenck & Kay, both in Boston, also competed for the tourism account.





Holland Mark Martin will most likely enter the business development pitch, according to agency chairman Bill Davis.





The business development contract with Houston Herstek Favat expires on June 30.





Written replies to the state’s request for responses are due on June 16. Agency selection is scheduled ‘on or about July 1,’ according to pitch materials. The winning agency will likely be given a three-year contract.





Only ad agencies that have in-house creative services, production, media planning and placement, direct response and research capabilities will be considered, the pitch materials said.





The office is seeking to ‘develop a cost-effective advertising and marketing strategy to encourage the expansion of existing in-state businesses, to promote the Commonwealth’s pro-business environment and to encourage the relocation of businesses to Massachusetts,’ according to the request for responses.











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