Lawrence & Schiller, the gargantuan (by South Dakota standards) Sioux Falls advertising agency was awarded a $7 million plus annual contract to handle South Dakota Tourism's advertising, marketing and promotion.
Check out the Rapid City Journal here and War College's report here.
L&S is a good advertising agency. There has been a lot of howling about the fact that L&S handled Gov. Rounds' campaigns, and that they have for years received the tourism account through n0 bid contracts. Okay. I don't believe in no bid contracts. But this time L&S submitted a proposal along with others. (Read the Journal account linked above.)
A comment on War College suggests that our own Bill Fleming could do as well as L&S for less money. The Journal reports that local agency Robert Sharp & Associates didn't spend the resources to win the bid. And, I submit that given the resources, I could do as well as L&S. The problem? I don't have the resources. L&S does.
I don't know what resources Bill has, but I don't see him gambling the same $100K to put together a proposal that L&S claims they did.
Is it fair? I'm not all torn up about it. Could some other agency do as well for less? We won't know, but my thought is that the answer is yes. Did L&S win the contract on the merits of their past performance and their proposal? Probably.
None of us will be privy to the proposals presented by the losing bidders. Everyone I know in the advertising industry would likely handle the account differently than L&S. Everyone I know would likely redesign the Yellow Pages, if they had the chance. That doesn't mean the end product would be better than what we have.
Is it possible that the request for proposal (RFP) was written in such a manner that only L&S had the resources to devote $100K to buy the contract? It kind of looks that way. In the final analysis, will L&S do a credible job? I bet yes.
If my agency had handled the governor's campaign, and I had friends and relatives of the governor working for me, critics would be correct for lambasting a decision to hand me the tourism contract because I don't have the resources to do the account justice. L&S does.
What says Bill? What say the rest of you?