New York Mails ‘Love’ Letters

NEW YORK The New York State Department of Economic Development this week sent out 350 requests for proposals to agencies nationwide, kicking off the scheduled review of its “I Love New York” travel and tourism account, the client said.

The three-year contract and two one-year renewal options could be worth up to $7.7 million annually, with nearly 60 percent of the budget reserved for media buying.

While a large portion of the solicited shops are based in New York, the client has had inquiries from agencies across the country and overseas, said Alex Dudley, the department’s director of communications. Dudley said the contacted agencies are primarily members of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Proposal requests are due back by 3 p.m. on April 29, he said.

“We’ve been generally satisfied with the job the Wolf Group has done,” Dudley said. “We just want to see what else is out there.”

Toronto-based Wolf won the state’s two-year contract in 1999 and one of two potential renewals in 2001. The shop will “absolutely” defend the account, which is handled out of its New York office, said Ned Russell, Wolf New York’s chief operating officer.

One of several spots created by Wolf was “New Day,” which showed average New Yorkers and celebrities enjoying New York following 9/11.

“In our business there are very few opportunities that you have to use your craft to help in a meaningful way your own environment,” Russell said. “We want to continue creating the kind of work that has helped New York recover after September 11th.”

Agencies interested in participating in the review should contact the Albany, N.Y.-based department to obtain a questionnaire. A decision will be made by September, when the current contract expires, Dudley said.