GSD&M Is Ready To Defend Its Texas Tourism Account

The Texas Department of Economic Development’s tourism division will review its $12 million ad account, having opted not to exercise two remaining contract extensions with GSD&M of Austin, Texas.
David Teel, deputy director of the state’s tourism division, confirmed the decision last week. “We chose not to exercise the renewal option [with GSD&M]. We have emerging strategic initiatives not covered in the existing contract, and we felt it should be reviewed.”
Steve Dalbey, GSD&M senior vice president and group account director, said the agency intends to defend its 10-year relationship with the client. GSD&M successfully rebid the account after a mandatory 1995 review that granted the shop a new two-year contract with three one-year renewal options.
Competing against GSD&M in the final round of that six-month account review were two Dallas-based agencies: The Richards Group and Moroch & Associates.
GSD&M developed the current tourism tagline, “Texas. It’s like a whole other country.” Its contract expires in August, and the winning agency will begin work on Sept. 1.
An “invitations for bids” is being developed, Teel said, and will likely be issued in the next month to agencies registered with the state’s general services commission. Shops can also submit a letter to the department’s procurement section to be added to the list.
Among the topics still being debated, according to Teel, are whether agencies will be asked to develop speculative creative and how many shops will be selected to make final presentations to tourism officials.
According to a GSD&M marketing case study, travel revenues in Texas increased from $18 billion in 1989 to $25.4 billion in 1995. The agency estimates it has arranged for more than $15 million in free media exposure for the client.