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A number of advertising agencies--some the size of David, others, Goliath--are participating in a review conducted by the United States Mint, a part of the Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.
In an unusual move, the U.S. Mint has not specified a budget for the 10-year project, called the "Fifty States Circulating Commemorative Quarter Program."
Sources close to the government review estimated the annual budget at $5-8 million.
Agencies participating in the review include Grey Advertising and Young & Rubicam, both New York, as well as W.B. Doner and Eisner & Associates, both Baltimore, and Henry J. Kaufman & Associates in Washington, D.C., among others. Grey, Doner and Kaufman are already on the U.S. Mint's roster of agencies.
Requests for proposals were due last Friday. A large part of the preliminary question-and-answer process involved supplying the U.S. Mint with labor costs, billing rates and total hours required to perform the work. The contract for the project is for 24 months initially, renewable up to 10 years.
Representatives for the U.S. Mint had not returned calls at press time.
The program will issue new quarters honoring each of the 50 states with a design emblematic of that region. Five different quarter designs will be produced each year in the order of each state's admission into the union.
The initiative will involve a comprehensive marketing push that will include a direct mail effort, broadcast and print (consumer and trade) advertising, creating a name and logo with broad public appeal, and developing a Web site.
Some agencies will be invited to give oral presentations in Washington, D.C., between April 13-15.
The U.S. Mint is also looking for fresh ideas on how to promote the series of coins to consumers across the nation.