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4 Left in Tourism Bid

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Four shops have advanced in the hotly contested review for the Connecticut Office of Tourism account, sources said.

Included in the pitch are Mintz & Hoke, Avon, Conn.; McLaughlin, DelVecchio & Casey, New Haven, Conn.; and Lang/Durham & Co., West Hartford, said agency executives. The account is budgeted at $6 million for the next 22 months.

The remaining agency could not be identified by press time. Officials with the state did not return calls by press time. The politics involved with pitching the account led several other agencies to drop out of the race, sources said.

The state's tourism business had been handled by O'Neal & Prelle, Hartford, which closed its doors earlier this summer [Adweek, July 10].

Two former O&P executives are playing roles in the current pitch. Michael Kintner, the shop's ex-president, who helmed the account for nearly a decade, is assisting Mintz & Hoke in its tourism bid. Former agency chairman Bill O'Neal, who left the shop in the mid-1990s, is also assisting MDC.

Mintz & Hoke, as Connecticut's largest agency, has worked with a number of state accounts, including the Connecticut State Department of Public Health and the Connecticut State Department of Education, while MDC boasts tourism experience with clients such as the Coastal Fairfield County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

That experience, plus the presence of Kintner and O'Neal on their pitch teams, makes M&H and MDC the early favorites to win the high-profile account, sources said. Lang/Durham's experience includes work with the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau.