There’s No Fuss For Fahlgren

Visit Florida Renews Contract With Incumbent’s Tampa Office
ATLANTA–Officials with Fahlgren in Tampa, Fla., got a shock two weeks ago when they attended a board of directors meeting at Visit Florida–their client formerly known as the Florida Department of Commerce.
On the agenda was a request for proposal that would be issued shortly (Fahlgren’s current contract expires next June). Since the group privatized last year, however, the mandate to evaluate the business on a regular basis disappeared, along with its resolve to conduct a review.
According to Fahlgren executive vice president Ginger Watters, the board voted to shelve the rfp and begin negotiating a new contract with the incumbent. “We were sitting there when they brought out the rfp,” said Watters. “Then suddenly they’re talking about why they should ask other agencies to take the time and money [to pitch the account], and why they should take [us] away from what we’re doing.”
Working in the shop’s favor, other than Visit Florida was no longer obligated to periodically review its account, was Fahlgren’s ability in the last five years to strike deals with in-state advertisers that now bring in $20 million in co-op funds. That significantly stretches the client’s roughly $9 million media budget.
“We’ve learned a lot over the last five years,” said Watters. “We’ve contacted every convention and visitors bureau, every attraction, car rental companies, airlines–we know how they want to market themselves with and for the state of Florida.”
Fahlgren is currently working with “Isn’t it nice to know you’re coming home to Florida?” as a tag. The ads also utilize the state’s “FLA-USA” logo.
“Ninety-two percent of the people who come here for a vacation come back,” Watters said. “The advertising taps into an emotion people have when they take a vacation and enjoy themselves.”
If the request for proposal had been issued, the agency would have found itself defending the account at presentations in January.
“Now we can all enjoy Christmas,” Watters said.