The District Decides

Eisner Communications has been awarded the Washington, D.C., Convention and Tourism Corp.’s marketing business.

The Baltimore agency topped nine contenders in a review, including crosstown rival GKV Advertising and Earle Palmer Brown of Bethesda, Md., to win the estimated $2 million account.

“The District wanted to mount a major effort to set itself apart as a world-class city,” said agency CEO Steve Eisner. “That’s only deepened since September 11.”

The first elements of a regional print, television and radio effort will begin appearing later this month under the working title, “The city of inspiration,” Eisner said. National cable and print advertising will also be incorporated into the campaign.

Target results include extending the number of overnight stays in the capital, expanding meeting and convention traffic, and promoting D.C.’s cultural and historic attractions.

A key to Eisner’s victory may have been an extraordinary video shot by agency staffers on Sept. 12. The tape documents the hopes, fears and sources of inspiration of area residents in the aftermath of the Pentagon attack.

“We saw that people would not be taken down,” said Eisner, who used the tape as a bridge into his team’s final pitch. “We understood that we did not have to alter the course of our thinking.”

“Quite frankly,” said WCTC president William Hanbury, “[Eisner] wowed us.”

The WCTC, formed in a merger between the Washington, D.C., Convention and Visitors Association and the D.C. Committee to Promote Washington, includes area hotels, restaurants, retailers and transportation companies.