Ohio taps Marcus Thomas, Cult Marketing for creative and media services

Fahlgren Mortine is the PR agency partner on the account.

Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio
Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio

COLUMBUS, OH: TourismOhio has hired local firms Marcus Thomas and Cult Marketing to handle brand architecture and positioning, creative services, and media services work.

According to a mandatory use contract dated March 18, Columbus-based Cult Marketing will handle brand architecture and positioning for $283,620 through December 31, 2016. The firm’s monthly rate for creative services is $52,500, according to the contract. Cleveland-based Marcus Thomas will manage media services, including strategy, planning, and buying, for $100 an hour, per the contract.

The media budget is worth $4 million to $6 million, and TourismOhio is expected to have up to $10 million to promote the state in a given year, according to the RFP released in January. The solicitation was looking for at least one firm to launch "an identifiable and distinctive brand position," as well as a campaign to support the state as a tourist destination.

The campaign is expected to launch around the beginning of June, according to the document.

Cult Marketing and Marcus Thomas are set to meet next week and "will be working hand-in-hand to really get the message out about Ohio," said Jim Nash, managing partner at Marcus Thomas.

In May 2013, Marcus Thomas was named brand development agency for the Ohio Lottery, according to a statement.

"We’re accustomed to working with the state and large media budgets, like Ohio Tourism," said Nash. "This felt like a natural for us."

Cult Marketing representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Travel and tourism in Ohio is worth $38 billion and employs roughly 405,000, according to documents.

Columbus-based Fahlgren Mortine has been the PR incumbent on the account for 16 years.

"During our relationship, we have developed several fantastic programs that have helped drive visitor spending to the great state of Ohio," said Melissa Dykstra, EVP at Fahlgren Mortine, via email. "We look forward to working in partnership with TourismOhio and the other agencies to continue to tell Ohio’s story."

In January, the firm was also named the integrated marketing AOR to Nevada Tourism, winning a $20.2 million, 29-month contract.                              

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