Local Shops Vie in Metra Review

Metra, the Chicago area’s commuter train system, is holding a review for its $1-2 million advertising contract.

Metra (formally the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp.) has asked a number of local shops if they are interested in participating in the review. A “pre-proposal” meeting is set for July 10 at the system’s Chicago headquarters. Proposals are due Sept. 12, and a decision is expected by the end of the year.

Incumbent BBDS, Chicago, will participate in the review, said Steve Congdon, the agency’s vice president of business development. The shop picked up the Metra account in 1985 and has successfully defended it every five years. The contract is for three years with two option years.

In the past, Metra has used spot broadcast, outdoor and direct mail.

Media duties, also at BBDS, could be part of the contract, depending on agency proposals, said Jim Bonistalli, Metra’s director of marketing.

Despite BBDS’ rock-solid hold on the Metra account, Bonistalli indicated the client has an open mind. “It makes good business sense that we consider avenues we haven’t considered in the past,” he said.