Penn. Looks to Consolidate Ad Contracts

NEW YORK The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania launched two nationwide reviews yesterday aimed at consolidating its $10 million creative account and $20 million media planning and buying, now handled by less than a dozen agencies.

In play is one of three major ad service contracts doled out by the state. Currently held by the Neiman Group in Harrisburg, Pa., the contract encompasses a number of state departments—including health, transportation, agriculture and public welfare—and is due to expire in July 2005. The Neiman Group could not be immediately reached for comment.

“We have 38 departments, so theoretically we could have 38 different contractors,” said Jay Pagni, the state’s strategic sourcing lead for advertising. “But instead of having a bunch of small individual contracts, we want to employ the Cosco model of buying in bulk.”

Pagni said he hoped the consolidation would allow departments with less ad dollars, like the insurance or public welfare accounts, to be able to leverage the buying power of the health unit, which controls more than half of the creative budget and about a third of the media spend.

Proposals for the media account are due back by Oct. 6, and creative proposals are due by Oct. 20, Pagni said.

Pagni would not specify how many agencies had been contacted, but said a “substantial” number of shops, both in Pennsylvania and in other states, had been sent the request for proposal. Interested agencies can find the form at

Two of the state’s three major contracts will not go into play: the travel and tourism account, now split between creative shop Red Tettemer and public relations agency Tierney Communications, both in Philadelphia; and the lottery business, handled by MARC USA in Pittsburgh.