California Rail reissues $4.5m account

SACRAMENTO: California High-Speed Rail Authority has re-issued an RFP to promote the state's hotly debated $43 billion rail project, a contract that Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide ditched last month.

SACRAMENTO: California High-Speed Rail Authority has re-issued an RFP to promote the state's hotly debated $43 billion rail project, a contract that Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide ditched last month.

The new multi-year contract up for grabs is estimated to be valued up to $4.5 million, said Rachel Wall, press secretary of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The contract will expire on June 30, 2014.

Scope of work, according to the contract obtained by PRWeek, will include contract management and administration, development of a strategic communications plan, stakeholder involvement, research and analysis, strategy development, earned and paid media, media events, regional outreach management/coordination and design and production of marketing materials.

Wall said the authority will make a decision sometime in October.

In July, Ogilvy PR terminated the rail account with a then budget of $9 million. Michael Law, president of Ogilvy West, had said the agency was "unable to develop a solid working relationship" with the authority; $2.5 million had already been paid out to Ogilvy.

The rail project has been publicly criticized by former state senator and former rail authority board member Quentin Kopp, who had asked for the contract with the PR agency to be terminated. Ogilvy was hired for the work in November 2009 in a second RFP.

The contract had previously been awarded to Mercury Public Affairs in September 2009, though questions from board members and the news media about the agency's ties to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office caused the second RFP to be issued, which Mercury declined to pitch.

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