Shops Question, Client Rethinks

Georgia Tourism’s Revised RFP Tries to Set Standards Straight
ATLANTA–The Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism has decided to allow any agency that meets the requirements in its revised request for proposal to file a written application to be considered for the $2 million advertising account.
The decision comes in the wake of a GDITT conference held in Atlanta last week that revealed several of the 20 agencies invited to file applications before the April 21 due date did not meet the specifications of the request for proposal.
The state’s original invitation stated that applicants must have at least 45 employees. At least three Atlanta agencies that were sent questionnaires–Fricks/Firestone, Match and Pringle Dixon Pringle–have less.
Other stipulations include having staff and facilities in the Atlanta area and at least 7 years experience as a full-service agency.
In a written question to the nine- member GDITT panel, John Fricks asked if his agency “would be penalized for running a tight ship of only 34 people.” After a short discussion, the panel decided to reduce the minimum number of employees to 34.
When asked about the qualification process that led to a decision about which agencies to invite, GDITT procurement officer Avon Thompson said questionnaires were sent to all shops that had contacted the government about the account in the past four years. The round number of 20 “was just a coincidence.”
Match director of account services Robert Atkinson, however, said his agency had never contacted anyone about the tourism account. Another Atlanta agency official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he had contacted the GDITT about the account twice in the past four years, but was not invited to participate.
The point became moot when the Georgia Department of Administrative Services agent handling the process, Mike McClearn, said the process was open to anyone who could download the request for proposal and application from the state’s Web site,, and follow the prompts.
Incumbent J. Walter Thompson here has indicated it will defend.