Blue Grass Tourism Trims to 3

After hearing presentations from eight in-state agencies last week, the Kentucky Tourism Development Cabinet has named three finalists for its $3.5 million advertising account.
The finalists, all in Louisville, Ky., are: incumbent Creative Alliance (CA), Paul Schultz Advertising and Ott Communications. The Beam Group, Doe-Anderson, Power Creative and Sheehy & Associates, all in Louisville, and Ad-Success of Lexington were eliminated.
“We felt good about our presentation and we got a very positive response,” said CA account executive Dena Livingston. Considered the favorite by many industry observers, CA has held the tourism business for six years and successfully defended it twice.
“The majority of our business has been outside the state, and we want to increase our presence locally,” said David Hogan, Ott’s account group director. “It’s like we’re unknown in our own backyard. But an account like this can make us known very quickly.”
Hogan said Ott has “assembled a team that has direct tourism experience in the past . . . including for Georgia and Virginia.” The agency also specializes in promotional work, one being the state’s Kentucky Derby Festival.
Paul Schultz Advertising is currently agency of record for Louisville’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. Agency senior vice president Susan Mormon said, “This is . . . one of the biggest pitches we’ve ever been in,” and cited her shop’s expertise in direct marketing and creating partnerships as key to making the cut.
The finalists will go at it again sometime this month. According to an unconfirmed agency report, follow-up presentations will take place the week of April 12. Kentucky Department of Travel’s deputy commissioner and director of marketing and advertising, Victoria Hesen, said a winner would be announced before the end of April.
“We want this bad,” said Hogan. “It’s going to be a dogfight. And we’re going to be like a pit bull on a postman.”