|Silver State Agencies Get Second Place in Contract Talks
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
Nevada has been facing some tough times. Tourism to the state has been low for most of the year, budget cuts at the state level have been deep, and it is home to the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12%. Not to mention that the college graduates in Nevada see the lack of jobs and flee it, causing a vicious cycle.
Then, Nevada decided to boost its presence and sell the state as a tourist destination. It put out a $3 million, two-year contract for an advertising agency to help Nevada's Commission of Tourism with the campaign. Nineteen agencies pitched for the business, eight of which were based in Nevada. None of the eight made it.
Yes, the four ad agencies that were selected as finalists do not call the Silver State home. The four finalists are Aristotle Inc (Arkansas), Burson-Marsteller (NY), Daniel J. Edelman Inc (Los Angeles), and Fahlgren Mortine (OH).
Naturally, questions arose about Nevada's selection process. In the Mohave Daily News, the source, two agency leads were disappointed that Nevada's board didn't pick a home agency because that would have meant that most of the $3 million would stay inside the borders. "It would mean the creation of jobs," said Bill Marion of Purdue Marion & Associates, an agency based in Las Vegas. The spokeswoman for the Tourism Commission said that every company was given the chance to compete, and the ranking the selection committee used did not have an advantage placed on Nevada-based companies.
As companies and states are pulling themselves out of recessions, can we call this a mistake? With a state that is so focused on getting people into the state, how could they forget about taking care of those businesses based in the state? Someone who is selling a house would make sure everything inside it is presentable. What does a state with 1 out of 10 people out of work have to offer tourists?
Granted, a $3 million contract isn't going to solve their job creation problem, but it would be a boost to its communications industry, and those agencies based in Nevada would have some really good things to say about it to the entire United States.
The question is, when do you search for the best talent within your borders, or the best talent in general? Is there an easy answer? Is the non-selection of the home agencies a sign of a lack of confidence?
Who knows, but for the Nevada Commission on Tourism's sake, the ultimate winner of the contract had better produce some awesome creative.
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