Maryland Issues RFP

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has issued a request for proposal for advertising services.

The solicitationencompasses the state’s tourism and business development advertising.

Bidders, according to the questionnaire, may submit proposals for either or both portions of the account. The proposal requests are due back Jan. 2.

“Normally, it’s been one piece of business, but now the state is splitting the account,” said a source. The lion’s share of the estimated $8 million media budget, however, supports tourism advertising.

Advertising expenditures rose to $11 million in 2002 as a result of Maryland’s efforts to stem tourism revenue losses in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sources said that funding for all state contracts are essentially “up in the air pending the budget of Maryland’s new governor, Robert Ehrlich.”

Trahan, Burden & Charles has held the Maryland tourism account since 1998 and will defend, a representative of the independent Baltimore agency said.

The shop’s last advertising campaign, “Maryland. Welcome,” launched three years ago and continues to run with annual updates. Current television and print ads feature the coastal state’s historic lighthouses.

The state would not disclose how many RFPs were issued. Agencies are expected to be able to provide broadcast, outdoor, print, point-of-sale, direct response, public relations, media planning and buying, research and Web site services, among other capabilities.

A decision is expected July 1.