It doesn’t seem likely that the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission will choose a new advertising agency this year, but that won’t stop it from opening up the bidding process.
Since 2001, the commission has contracted with the Sells Agency to develop and place advertising designed to promote Fayetteville to potential visitors. Examples of their work include experiencefayetteville.com and the recent ‘Find It In Fayetteville‘ creative.
The commission’s current three-year contract with the agency has an attached annual renewal, but the contract itself expires in December.
“Let me say that I think Sells has done a terrific job for us,” A&P director Marilyn Heifner told the members of the commission. “But I need you all to give me some guidance.”
Heifner said the commission would have to begin the search now if it were to have another agency in place by January.
The process would include announcing a request for qualifications (RFQ), followed by a request for proposals (RFP). After conducting interviews with the final candidates, the commission would then select a new agency.
“I’ve never been a real proponent of no-bid contracts,”said Mayor Lioneld Jordan who serves as a member of the commission. “I personally like RFPs, but I’m not necessarily married to that. It’s up to what this commission wants to do.”
“I kind of go by the principal that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said commission member Maudie Schmitt. “But I understand that we are here representing the people,” she added, saying that if there are other companies out there who want to compete, they should be given the opportunity.
“But we certainly would want whoever it is that applies to be of the same quality,” she said. “Otherwise, we’re just wasting time.”
“This is kind of a double-edged sword,” said Neal Crawford, another commission member. “They’ve done a great job for us and it would be very easy to just continue on, but we don’t want other agencies to think this is a closed-door deal,” he said.
After similar comments from other members, Heifner suggested going ahead and putting out an RFQ. “That way, you all can compare the qualifications and move from there,” she said.
The commission members agreed and will soon move forward with the process.