ATLANTA-Virginia is not only for lovers, it is also for Barker, Campbell, Farley & Mansfield. The Virginia Beach, Va., agency is the apparent winner of the Virginia Tourism Corp.’s $5 million-plus account, though neither the shop nor the client would comment last week.
The incumbent which has held the account since 1992-Siddall, Matus & Coughter in Richmond, Va.-told Adweek last Wednesday that it was informed it had lost the business to BCF&M. “The Virginia Tourism Corp. has been a great client and we’re disappointed,” said SM&C chairman and chief executive officer John Siddall.
BCF&M officials referred all telephone calls to the client, which did not respond to several inquiries.
SM&C public relations president Bill Hamby said the account loss would not result in any layoffs. “We’ve had a good year and have a strong new business program in place,” he said. “We’re not concerned about how we’re going to replace that business.”
The tourism review began in March, when the state-mandated request for proposal was issued. That initial review reportedly got down to SM&C and BCF&M in June, before a protest lodged by Richmond’s Just Partners compelled client officials to re-start the process. Due to the time delay caused by having to restart the process, SM&C was contracted for an extra month by tourism officials. The new advertising contract will take affect Nov. 1.
BCF&M comes to the table with category experience, having handled the City of Virginia Beach’s tourism account for several years. Reportedly, the shop will not have to resign that business, even with the addition of the state’s tourism account.
One element that will not change with the shifting of the advertising contract is the state’s well-known “Virginia is for lovers” tagline. With much of the spring and summer ads completed and the media placed, any major new work will not appear until later in 1998.
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