New Jersey picked marketing firm days before Sandy hit

TRENTON, NJ: Just days before the state was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey officials chose travel marketing firm Dana Communications to promote it as a tourism destination. However, it chose not to hire a PR firm at that time.

TRENTON, NJ: Just days before the state was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey officials chose travel marketing firm Dana Communications to promote it as a tourism destination. However, it chose not to hire a PR firm at that time.

Dana's contract is worth $4.7 million, and its scope involves advertising services and media purchases. The three-year contract has two additional option years.

A separate $300,000 task order for PR services was not filled, according to a procurement officer for the account. He gave no reason why a firm wasn't picked to do PR after an eight-month solicitation process, other than to say state employees have adequately done that work without the help of a third party in recent months.

However, he said it's possible that the state could put the work up for bid again in coming months.

The firm Brushfire was the incumbent on the account since 2005, and it performed both advertising and PR duties for the state.

“We are disappointed with the decision on the contract, but we are extremely proud of the work we've done on behalf of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism during the past seven years, which has resulted in record levels of visitation despite the troubled economy,” agency president Joan Mueller said.

Tourism is critical to the state's economy. Last year, New Jersey generated $38 billion from visitors.

However, just a few days ago, Hurricane Sandy destroyed boardwalks in Seaside Heights, Belmar, Atlantic City, and other towns on the Jersey Shore. Some amusement parks, arcades, and restaurants did not survive the natural disaster.

A representative from Dana Communications did not return a request seeking comment.

In April, the Atlantic City Alliance launched a campaign to promote the city as a destination with Edelman as its PR AOR.

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