Gkv, Maryland Tourism Ink One-Year Pact

ATLANTA The Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts has named gkv communications its advertising agency following a review, the shop said.

Gkv topped three other Baltimore finalists, The Campbell Group, Midian Communications and Havas’ Brann Worldwide, and Hermann Advertising & Design Communications of Annapolis, Md. Baltimore incumbent Trahan, Burden & Charles did not defend the account.

The state’s decision to issue a one-year contract for the tourism account was based on budgetary issues, sources said.

Roger Gray, gkv president and CEO, said the state is likely to return to a three-year contract next year. “If we do a good job, we’ll have a leg up,” he said. “As the economy improves and we find new sources of revenue, the budget will go up.”

The state spent $6 million on tourism advertising in 2002 and $4 million between January and August of this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Gray said a new campaign that connects emotionally to potential visitors would launch in late March or early April. The shop will handle some media duties. The client’s call center, publications and fulfillment services have all been pulled in-house. Gray said the agency would be working with those departments to make booking trips to Maryland easier.

The agency presented research that showed many Americans do not use all of their annual vacation time. When they do take time off, they often stay home. “What has been missing [from previous campaigns] is understanding the busy lives tourists live and how difficult it can be to take time out and say, ‘I need to get away,’ ” he said.