N.Y. Loves Consolidation

The Empire State Development Corp. has sent questionnaires to 75 shops that might want to compete for the “I Love New York” tourism account, a client representative said.
The business is currently split: Toolbox in New York handles most traditional ad duties; Albany-based shops Media Logic and Oberlander take on mainly online and direct marketing duties, respectively. Media First in New York handles media chores.
In past years, roster shops had to bid for each assignment, regardless of discipline. The ESDC, a government entity, now wants to consolidate the $8 million task at one agency. Both Toolbox and Media First, which is pitching with undisclosed creative shops, said they will participate. The Albany shops could not be reached.
Agencies had until Dec. 2 to request the 10-page questionnaire; they must complete it by Jan. 11 to qualify for the next round, said Caroline Quartararo, senior vice president, public affairs for the ESDC in Albany. Only shops with New York state offices are eligible.
A short list of 10 shops will be chosen by early February; those agencies will receive a creative assignment. Five will then advance to the finals.
Under state law, contracts expire on March 31. The new pact will run for two years with three optional one-year extensions.
Quartararo said the ESDC wants to woo tourists from throughout the Northeast. The most recent TV campaign from Toolbox features scenes of canals, rushing whitewater rapids and vineyards. Viewers think they are seeing far-away destinations until a local says, “What did you think? This is New York.