DALLAS-Sherry Matthews Advertising of Austin, Texas, and two New York companies are finalists for the public relations business of the Texas Department of Economic Development’s tourism division.
Officials with the TDED will make a decision as soon as this week after a “final evaluation,” according to a department representative.
Lou Hammond & Associates and Development Counselors International are the East Coast shops involved in the review, according to the TDED.
The winning agency will earn a first-year contract worth $250,000, with four one-year renewal options, according to Scott Owings, U.S. and Asia marketing manager for the TDED.
The incumbent is the Dallas office of Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, which held the business as a subcontractor to former tourism advertising agency GSD&M of Austin.
This is the first independent contract involving public relations services for Texas tourism. Before Edelman held the business, public relations support was handled internally at the department.
If either New York company wins, each has noted it will contract a public relations firm in the state capital to maintain a presence near TDED headquarters, according to Owings.
Owings said he was unsure of the exact number of applicants bidding for the work, but stated last month the response had been “overwhelming.”
The value of the four renewal years of the state contract will be determined by the Texas legislature on a biennial basis.
The new agency will be required to develop and conduct a media relations campaign aimed at mainstream outlets as well as tourism and trade publications outside the state. Work will maintain the advertising slogan, “It’s like a whole other country.”
Texas tourism’s lead marketing agency is McCann-Erickson Southwest, headquartered in Houston with offices in Dallas, Austin and New Orleans. ƒ
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