MINNEAPOLIS, MN: The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission has picked a new PR AOR for the first time in nearly two decades, letting long-time collaborator Padilla Speer Beardsley go.
The organization has chosen Olson as its PR AOR after a competitive RFP process. The firm will have a six-year contract.
The commission, which operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as well as six other smaller airports in the Twin Cities region, serves 33 million travelers each year.
The airport made the change after realizing the “major role digital media now plays in the MAC's communication efforts,” according to state documents. The airport group also noticed that of the $455,764 it was spending each year for Padilla's services, a significant portion was “for pass-through charges” to subcontractors for media buys, photography, web hosting, printing, and other services.
“The airport is doing more outreach through interactive technological communications channels like apps and social media more so than traditional PR,” said Patrick Hogan, director of public affairs and marketing at the commission. “Olson had more employees that have a deeper experience with technology communications.”
Even with more digital outreach, the budget previously held by Padilla will remain mostly intact, Hogan said. He added that Olson will help with the traditional PR outreach it continues to conduct.
Before selecting Olson, the commission considered proposals from Padilla; BBDO, which teamed with sister Omnicom Group agencies Proximity and Fleishman-Hillard; and Risdall Marketing Group. Only Padilla and Olson were asked to do in-person presentations, according to state documents.
This is Olson's first airport account, said Ryan Chuckel, SVP of PR and business development at the firm.
The commission's move to use more digital outreach “is important for their business,” Chuckel said, adding that the firm will prioritize encouraging consumers to use the airports' on-site parking and food options. “That's something that can't really be done with a press release.”
Padilla CEO Lynn Casey said she understood the airport group's need for a new firm. Padilla was told that the commission decided to give the contract to an agency with a full-scale digital CRM platform, a capability it does not offer in house.
“We're very proud of the work we've done, the tight budgets we've stewarded, and the results we've driven for the MAC. Every relationship has its life cycle, and we wish them the best,” Casey said.
Last summer, the city of San Francisco hired Burson-Marsteller, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and the San Francisco Travel Association to provide international strategic marketing services for the San Francisco International Airport. SFO also brought on Burson as AOR in January 2012 in a three-year contract with a value of $1.8 million.