R.I. Tourism Weighs 7 Shops

By David Gianatasio

BOSTON–Seven contenders have emerged in the review for the $1.5 million ad account of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.

The agencies under consideration are incumbent Duffy & Shanley, AdVentures, Leonard/Monahan and Trainor Associates, all of Providence, R.I.; Fern Hanaway/Monti & Partners in Warwick, R.I.; Skinner James in Watertown, Mass.; and the team of Harrison Marketing & Communications in Fairfield, Conn., and Sullivan & Mulvaney of Stamford, Conn.

The list will be trimmed to three finalists this week, according to economic development official Dawn Giles. A final decision is expected by the end of the month, she said.

Asked about the controversy that can arise when out-of-state agencies are allowed to pitch state government ad accounts, Giles noted that having a Rhode Island office was not a criteria for participation.

‘Our intention is to get the best qualified agency that will do the best possible work for the best price for the state of Rhode Island,’ Giles said.

The winner will be offered a one-year contract with two single-year renewal options. The account is reviewed periodically and the search does not reflect upon Duffy & Shanley’s performance, Giles explained.

The review includes the tourism promotion business, handled by Duffy & Shanley. It also involves Rhode Island’s economic development business, handled by FitzGerald & Co. in Cranston, R.I., before it went out of business (Adweek, March 24).

Along with crafting consumer tourism advertising, the winning agency will create business development efforts targeting the software, financial services, insurance and biotechnology industries.

Duffy & Shanley’s spring and summer ad campaign for the state, depicting Rhode Island as providing ‘Stress Relief’ for weary urban residents, is now breaking in Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today and elsewhere.

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