6 in Dogfight for U.S. Air Force’s $50 Mil. Pact

The U.S. Air Force continues hearing presentations this week from six agencies competing for its $50 million account.
The presenters are incumbent Bo-zell Kamstra Tex-as, Irving, Texas; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Image Me-dia Services, Mc-Lean, Va.; SiegelGale, New York; and two undisclosed agencies.
Young & Rubicam, New York, most recently agency of record for the U.S. Army, chose not to pursue the USAF after a pre-proposal meeting in May at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The first round of meetings now under way include creative strategy presentations and a “subtask” of developing a Hispanic marketing.
Most of the agencies have partnered with two, and in some cases as many as four, small or minority-owned businesses in response to the Air Force’s stated intention of awarding a portion of its account to these groups.
Following the first round, two or three finalists will get a creative assignment. They will receive a stipend, possibly as much as $50,000 apiece, to help flesh out the spec creative. A source said the fee will help level the playing field between smaller and larger agencies.
Like other military branches, the Air Force wants to change its ad contract to one based on a combination of fees and performance incentives. The agency search was initiated just a few months before its contract with Bozell Kamstra was up for a scheduled four-year review.
“Conceptually, I think [incentive-based pay] is a good thing as far as building a partnership,” said Bob Horne, director of advertising at SiegelGale. “It’s only reflecting the way the business as a whole is going, whether it’s the Air Force or packaged goods.”
SiegelGale, retained by the Air Force last year to handle strategic positioning and design projects, has been working with the incumbent agency on creative tasks.