U.S. Officials Review Account Pitching New Money

Three government agencies will launch a U.S. currency education and awareness campaign, and are seeking an agency and/or a PR firm to handle the account, worth about $35 million in media, sources said.

The U.S. Secret Service, the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are the agencies involved in the project, called NexGen, which will show how the redesign of U.S. currency makes it more difficult to counterfeit, according to official documents.

A pre-questionnaire has been posted on the www.fedbizopps.gov site, and a formal RFP will be posted there Feb. 11, sources said.

The redesigned currency will be issued in early 2003, but the client wants the global campaign to begin this year with TV, print, radio, Internet and PR. It also calls for a re design of the Web site www.moneyfactory.com.

The campaign must reach people “where they live, work, govern and learn,” the documents say.

They also state that a campaign should communicate that the U.S. currency will not be devalued, because the new design can’t be successfully duplicated using PCs, scanners and color printers.

A campaign will also encourage the public to become familiar with the currency redesign and be aware of possible counterfeiting.

“Many people do not realize that if they accept a counterfeit bill, they will lose that money, and assume that a bank and store will replace the bad note with a good one,” the documents say.

Agencies will also need to be able to convey parts of the campaign in foreign languages used in nations of the former Soviet Union, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America, for both urban and rural audiences.

Cynthia Beckett, who is coordinating the review at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, did not return calls seeking comment.