The Texas Department of Economic Development in Austin has extended its entry deadline for public relations duties on the Lone Star tourism account to April 5, a state agency official overseeing the review said last week.
Scott Owings, U.S. and Asia marketing manager for TDEC, said addenda sent out last week to the initial bid requirements are forcing the department to push back the final day for bids from Texas agencies and public relations firms. Owings said he thus far has seen "overwhelming" response to the mandatory review.
The state contract is worth $250,000 annually, with four one-year renewal options. The incumbent is Edelman Public Relations Worldwide's Dallas office.
This will be the first independent contract for the public relations business. Previously, it was handled internally before Edelman was subcontracted last year by former lead tourism marketing agency GSD&M in Austin, Texas.
Owings said Edelman's contract was extended for a few months after GSD&M lost its $12 million advertising and marketing portion of the account to McCann-Erickson Southwest in Houston.
Owings said the work will require the winner to develop and conduct a campaign aimed at U.S. media, plus tourism and trade publications outside the state, to brand Texas' "It's like a whole other country" theme. Texas tourism's patch logo will be a required ingredient of any proposed work, Owings said.
No timetable has been established for a selection of finalists or a decision in the review, according to Owings. "That will all take place after April 5," he said.
An agency can realize $1 million in fees over the life of the contract, although the Texas legislature could change future annual figures in succeeding biennial budgets.
McCann, which won the advertising business in September, is operating under a two-year contract, with three one-year renewal options.