Shops Vying for S.F. Visitors Bureau to Present Fee Plans



SAN FRANCISCO – The agencies contending for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau account have been asked to include an ‘innovative approach to compensation’ in their presentations.
‘It’s not going to sway our decision,’ said Lovester Law, vp of marketing for the Convention & Visitors Bureau. ‘We just want to take a look at new ways of compensating our agency, perhaps attaching some risk and reward.’
Though the agencies remaining in the review say they are open to discussing compensation issues, they privately question how flexible a system can be structured, given the bureau’s limited ad budget, estimated at $600,000.
Four S.F. agencies, Anderson & Lembke, Ketchum, Pallas and Saatchi & Saatchi/Pacific, are vying for the account, which is expected to be assigned at the end of the month. Incumbent BBDO and Mandelbaum Mooney & Ashley both have withdrawn, in part because of the issue of compensation.
‘The appeal of the account is to do terrific work, but in terms of compensation, its almost like pro bono work,’ said Ken Mandelbaum, ceo of MMA. ‘We have a lot of clients like that already.’
For the agencies that remain, what they stand to gain in visibility may compensate for what they’ll lose in compensation. Saatchi has been hard-pressed to diversify from its dominant client Hewlett-Packard. Anderson & Lembke is trying to break out of its high-tech, business-to-business niche. Ketchum could use the account as leverage to expand into the travel industry. Pallas, which handles some travel and hotel accounts, sees it as an opportunity to build relationships with the city’s hotels.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)