Is New York Open to Free ‘Love’?

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam has offered to take on New York state’s travel and tourism campaign pro bono, sources said. The offer was made as part of the agency’s RFP submission.

Y&R offered to create new work for free as part of its strategy pitch for the “I Love New York” campaign. In the proposal, the New York shop said it would be able to foster greater corporate involvement, in the form of event sponsorships, donations and co-marketing, if Y&R itself donated its efforts, sources said.

The agency included a rough version of its proposed campaign with its submission, sources said. As of Monday, client executives had not responded, sources said. Y&R declined comment, and the client did not return calls.

The three-year contract and two one-year renewal options from the New York State Department of Economic Development could be worth up to nearly $8 million annually, with nearly 60 percent of the budget reserved for media buying, the client has said.

The scheduled review began in March, with request-for-proposal forms due back April 29. Of 350 agencies the department solicited, 26 shops returned the forms.

The winning agency will be notified in September, the client has said. No further description of the time line was given.

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