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Ag Dept Taking Bids for $100K State Fair/Wheel Jam Ad Campaign

While the State of South Dakota prances around like a fool with its $1.4-million “We’re On Meth™” cap on, it’s also seeking bids for State Fair advertising. Request for Proposals #1870 (scan the state’s pending RFP posting board) invites “experienced, qualified, and creative marketing and advertising agency who specializes in digital marketing, display ads, web design, graphic design, public relations, and audio/visual production to service the annual South Dakota State Fair and some off-season events in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.” Proposals are due January 15; the State Fair Board anticipates choosing a winner by January 30.

RFP #1870 notes that the state’s ad budget for the 2020 State Fair is $90,000. Those dollars should achieve the following objectives:

  1. Advise and make recommendations to the State on matters pertaining to advertising, marketing, and public relations
  2. Create a compelling advertising campaign that increases public awareness of and support for the SD State Fair
  3. Work with the State in creating a new theme and logo for annual State Fair event
  4. Conceive and design the State Fair’s annual printed materials, including but not limited to posters, event guide, and newspaper insert,
  5. Conceive and produce text, printed, audio, video, and digital materials
  6. Media buying services for the purchase of time or space in media outlets for the placement of advertising including, but not limited to, pre-buy analysis, planning, negotiating best rates and placements, tracking and post-buy analysis
  7. Provide recommendations and assistance to the State in the maintenance, look, and content of the State Fair website, sdstatefair.com
  8. Integrate content with search engine optimization and social media marketing
  9. Assist the State with sponsorship solicitation as requested
  10. Assist the State with development of a State Fair media guide/kit
  11. Meet with key media representatives
  12. Draft press releases as needed
  13. Assist the State in scheduling media interviews with television and radio
  14. Provide on-grounds presence during the entire duration of the State Fair, beginning preview day, to manage and operate the Media Center and VIP Lounge.
  15. Provide on-grounds assistance during the entire duration of the State Fair, beginning preview day, to assist with special events when needed including, but not limited to, emceeing, judging, or filling in where needed.
  16. Assist with other marketing, advertising, and public relations duties
  17. The Contractor will submit materials for the IAFE Agricultural Awards, Competitive Events and Communications Contests for each fair by the specified deadlines. Contest guidelines will be provided by the State as made available from the IAFE [South Dakota Department of Agriculture: State Fair Park Division, RFP #1870, posted 2019.11.26].

RFP #1870 indicates the work include marketing for Wheel Jam*, for which the state budgets $5,000 to $11,000 a year. The scope of that portion of the bid includes the following tasks:

  1. Advise and make recommendations to the State on matters pertaining to advertising, marketing, and public relations
  2. Create a compelling advertising campaign that increases public awareness of and support for Wheel Jam
  3. Update logo for Wheel Jam for each year
  4. Conceive and design printed materials
  5. Conceive and produce text, printed, audio, video, and digital materials
  6. Media buying services for the purchase of time or space in media outlets for the placement of advertising including, but not limited to, pre-buy analysis, planning, negotiating best rates and placements, tracking and post-buy analysis
  7. Provide advice and assistance to the State in the maintenance, look, and content of the website, wheeljam.com
  8. Integrate content with search engine optimization and social media marketing Assist the State with sponsorship solicitation as requested
  9. Assist with other marketing, advertising, and public relations duties [RFP #1870, 2019.11.26].

New themes and logos, multiple events, even on-site services for a project where your success will be measured in the very concrete and unforgiving figures of attendance and sales tax revenue? That sounds like a harder gig that the anti-meth campaign, and for only 7% as much money! But hey, Adwerks, Craft & Assocs., Epicosity, Fresh Produce, Henkinschultz, Insight, Lawrence & Schiller, Media One, and Sterling—all you On Meth campaign losers, if you’d like to get a little state gravy pitching the State Fair, address and label your bid thus:

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL #1870
PROPOSAL DUE JANUARY 15, 2020
SD DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, STATE FAIR DIVISION 1060 3RD STREET SW, HURON, SD 57350

Win the contract, and you have an excuse to send a couple of your young go-getters up to camp in Huron for the long Labor Day weekend. Plus, through 2024, you’ll get to associate your skills with a wholesome family tradition instead of a one-off viral splash of fleeting and debatable effectiveness whose already visible fade from the headlines most of your neighbors will welcome.

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*Wheel Jam 2020 coincides with the South Dakota BBQ Championships June 5–6 at the Fairgrounds.

SD BBQ Championship June 5–6, 2020, at the State Fairgrounds in Huron.
Pass the pork: SD BBQ Championship June 5–6, 2020, at the State Fairgrounds in Huron.

A smart bidder will rebrand that event for maximum synergy with the motor events the way I Freudianly mistyped it on my first draft: Wheel Ham.

2 Comments

  1. Debbo 2019-11-29

    Sounds like not much $ for a lot of work. On the other hand, the “On Meth” people were waaaaay overpaid for a crappy job.

  2. Adam 2019-12-02

    It seemed like I might sorta actually be interested in bidding on this project, until I saw that they require the advertiser to spend the whole duration of the fair ‘working’ at the fair. That requirement is an absolute deal breaker.

    I’d MUCH RATHER bid on an easy half million dollar video ad contract and pay a couple/few actors to say a couple/few carefully chosen lines.

    After seeing what Kristi Noem is willing to pay for crap (We’re On Meth), $90,000 for promoting the State Fair is just peanuts. All the good ad agencies are going to sit tight and wait for a better job offer.

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