Knape’s DART Run Is Cut Short

Dallas Transit Calls Review Despite Incumbent’s Renewal Options
DALLAS–Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) plans to send out questionnaires this week as it places its $1.5 million public advertising account into review.
The rebidding of the contract comes despite two years of renewals remaining with five-year incumbent Knape here. A client official said the transit organization wants to reshape the structure of its agency relationship and bring more creative and media assignments in-house.
Because of the proposed changes in agency assignments, Knape may not pursue the contract.
“We need to look at our direction for the future and the direction DART wants to take, and whether that would be a good match or not,” said agency president Susan Knape. “I think [the agency’s participation] depends on whether DART feels it needs a creative-focused agency in the future.”
A bid package on the two-year, approximately $3 million account is expected to become available this week, according to DART advertising manager Micah Causey. He said DART wants to streamline costs by assuming some duties and dealing directly with minority marketing companies on the account. Currently, marketing partners Cinco Media (Hispanic) and Baker Consulting Associates (African-American) work through the lead agency.
Causey said agencies will be required to submit credentials by Aug. 7. Three to five finalists will make presentations in early September before DART officials make a recommendation to their board.
Causey said the agency selected will work with DART’s marketing department on producing a year-round image campaign. This summer Knape launched the first series aimed at increasing ridership of DART’s bus and light rail lines, with the tagline, “Some things are more important than driving.”
A radio portion of that assignment will launch later this month, and should air through the end of Knape’s contract on Oct. 1.
The contract has been worth $1.2 million annually to Knape. The shop, affiliated with Valentine Radford of Kansas City, originally won the account in 1993 when it was a unit of Dallas’ Larkin, Meeder & Schweidel (now LMS/Marc).