Tourism Rift Was Sparked by Both Agency, Client Dissatisfaction
BOSTON–Tensions between the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism and Holland Mark Edmund Ingalls prompted agency executives to take a pass on the upcoming state-mandated review for the $3-9 million assignment, sources said.
The rift stemmed from Boston-based Holland Mark’s buyout last year of cross-town rival Ingalls, combined with the agency’s frustration over the amount of work MOTT requires for a seven-figure account, sources said.
MOTT last week issued a request for responses, six months in advance of the expiration of Holland Mark’s current contract. Agency chief executive Bill Davis said his shop will not participate [Adweek, Jan. 3]. Pile and Co. in Boston is overseeing the search. A winner is expected by March, and will be awarded a five-year contract.
Holland Mark’s work, themed “Take a real vacation,” was well-received in political circles and had won creative kudos. Sources, however, said Holland Mark’s merger with Ingalls, creating a $160 million shop, led MOTT to conclude the agency had outgrown the business.
MOTT officials grew increasingly concerned that the account would become “lost” amid the bureaucracy of a large agency, sources said.
Conversely, Holland Mark officials became weary dealing with client bureaucracy on the relatively small account, sources said. “This was not an easy account, not a big account and it was impossible [for the agency] to make money [on MOTT],” said one source.
Neither MOTT executive director Mary Jane McKenna nor Holland Mark’s Davis would cite specific reasons for the impending split. “This is a great account. A great experience. Every [agency] should get a chance to work on it,” Davis said.
Likely contenders include Trinity Communications, Boston, which has positioned MOTT within the travel industry, and Irma S. Mann, Strategic Marketing, Boston, which helps lure vacationers to the Bahamas and handles the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. K