AUSTIN, TX: A group of incumbent agencies submitted the lowest bid and subsequently won the Texas state tourism account.
Weber Shandwick led the winning team, which included Dallas-based agencies Tucker & Associates and Howland PR, El Paso's Lopez Advertising Group, Germany's Magnum Management, Canada's Travmark Group, the UK's First Public Relations, and independent contractors in Mexico. All of the aforementioned firms have worked on Texas tourism in recent years.
Eight teams responded to the RFP. The state's procurement agency scored the proposals, but the governor's office made the final decision. According to the scoring index, San Antonio integrated firm Interlex scored higher than the Weber team overall, but the winning team submitted the lowest bid at $2.17 million for 19 months.
"The governor's office has the discretion of selecting from the list of company proposals," explained press secretary Kathy Walt. "In these lean economic times, the governor believes it is especially important that the state be a good steward of the taxpayers' money. Weber Shandwick did have a lower bid, and the state is pleased with the services the company has been providing."
Weber Southwest president Ken Luce recognized the importance of thrift. "One factor that plays into today's issues with the state is being able to deliver great results very cost efficiently."
The contract consolidates global PR under one lead firm. The Weber team will publicize lesser-known destinations, as well as take on high-profile projects, such as capitalizing on the April release of the feature film The Alamo, which stars Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton.
Other agencies submitting proposals were Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, Lou Hammond & Associates, Vollmer, GTS/William MacDougall, and KWGC.