Caltrans budgets $9m for stormwater pollution education effort

Oral interviews of bidding agencies will happen next month.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

SACRAMENTO, CA: California's Department of Transportation is searching for a PR firm to conduct a $9 million stormwater pollution prevention public outreach campaign.

The effort would educate the public about the effect that pollutants from highways, including trash, cigarette butts, illegal dumping, sediment and metals such as copper, lead and zinc can have on water quality. Caltrans wants to convince motorists to dispose of trash properly, cover and secure vehicle loads and maintain cars and trucks to prevent them from polluting the roadway.

The department's RFP is calling for an integrated PR, advertising and marketing campaign that will raise awareness and change behavior and "lead to improved water quality of California's streams, rivers, lakes and coastal waters."

The department received final submissions the week of November 13; it plans to conduct oral interviews the week of December 7, according to documents from California's state procurement website. Caltrans is planning to post its intent to award notice during the week of December 14 and award the contract a week later.

A Caltrans spokesperson declined to disclose the bidders. However, the primary agency for a similar previous campaign, the 2016 Protect Every Drop initiative that ended last June, was Sacramento, California-based Sagent, formerly known as ProProse.

Subagencies on that campaign included Ogilvy, Fuel Creative Group and market research firm ConsumerQuest, according to a Caltrans spokesperson. Representatives from Sagent and Ogilvy could not be reached for comment about the new campaign.

Deliverables for the upcoming campaign include general market outreach to ages 18 to 49, a public education and outreach initiative, development of outreach material, social media and website content, social media outreach, outdoor media and online and radio advertising.

The winning firm will be tasked with developing partnerships to encourage other
statewide agencies, nonprofits, local communities, schools and businesses to participate in the campaign.

The new effort can continue the messaging from the previous initiative or take a completely new approach, according to state documents. However, the winner will be expected to "translate Caltrans' current public education campaign message into an expanded or a new branded title with a higher emphasis on trash, litter and secured loads, in an innovative campaign that targets multiple pollutants."

Caltrans also wants the campaign to be motivational and "not single out or target groups or subgroups as the source of pollution."

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