The State of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) in Baltimore is in the early stages of a review for its estimated $5 million advertising account.
The business includes the client's divisions of tourism, film and the arts, as well as its offices of international business and business development.
W.B. Doner of Baltimore presently handles the account; its current contract expires in June. Doner principal Tony Everett declined to comment on whether his agency will again pursue the high-profile account, the bulk of which involves the tourism component.
Requests for proposals are due back at DBED this week. Jo Ann Wright, director of the state's office of contracts and procurement, was not available for comment on the review at press time.
Agencies that received the questionnaire include Baltimore shops Trahan, Burden & Charles; Eisner & Associates; The Campbell Group; Richardson, Myers & Donofrio; and Gray, Kirk Vansant, among others. The request for proposal invites "full-service firms with experience in advertising, public relations and graphic design services to submit proposals" that detail their ability to provide those services for tourism and the other departments at DBED.
About 30 agency executive attended the recent bidders conference. Those judged to be the top five respondents to the rfp will be invited to participate in the strategic and creative presentations that are, as yet, unscheduled. Two speculative campaigns will be the cornerstone of the presentations.
The official budget for the business in 1997 was $5 million, although sources said not all of that money was spent on advertising.
"The budget is always subject to the state's [discretion]," said one agency executive who is participating in the review.
Doner officials said they have just completed a new television campaign for DBED, which will break soon.