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Locals say VCB went too far

"For its new tourism promotion campaign, the Kitsap Peninsula Visitors' and Convention Bureau hired marketing consultants just far enough away to anger local advertising talent.Rather than opening a call to bid on a Kitsap Peninsula marketing project, the VCB hired directly from King County.To the best of my knowledge, no one from (Kitsap County) was invited to participate, said William E. Hoke of the marketing firm Hoke Consulting. I'm here not just for myself, but for a lot of people who didn't participate because they weren't invited and were eminently qualified.But according to VCB Director Grant Griffin, the VCB is not obligated to open a call for bids or hire within the county. We're not a public agency, so we don't have to go out to bid, he said.Griffin said the VCB hired a company that could consult on all aspects of the marketing project, rather than piecing together local talent. We didn't want to go out and do it piecemeal, he said. We hired an agency to do the whole thing.We asked the agency to use any local talent if possible, he added.Hoke said the VCB's $80,000 budget should have been paid to local people.It's particularly painful because it was a big budget. Those are big numbers in Kitsap County, he said. All the money resides in King County now.Griffin said the VCB has spent $41,000 so far - $39,000 of that on air-time. We haven't spent a whole lot of money besides radio time, and there aren't a whole lot of radio stations here that target Seattle, he said.Hoke said the issue he and other local marketing consultants have is not in making sure the VCB provides work for them, but rather that they're given the opportunity to bid for projects.The law of reciprocity is in effect, he said. I care about local business people supporting local business people.But, Griffin said, some local people were hired onto the project. One agency got a little miffed that we didn't ask them to consult with us, he said.David Turrill, of David Turrill Creative, and Bill Gohde, of the Raven Group, designed and wrote the Kitsap Peninsula's new marketing campaign. It targets Seattle couples with a combined income of $100,000.Hoke maintains marketers should direct the ad campaign toward people who live on the Kitsap Peninsula first. There are 250,000 people in this area with enormous economic buying power, he said. It's a lot easier to develop local business than getting people to come over on crowded ferry boats.Local talent has provided pro bono work for the VCB in the past, Hoke said, leaving Kitsap marketers feeling slighted.With the VCB, our work has been operating on scarcity. There was always an implied promise that if there was money, we'd be invited to bid on it, Hoke said.Because the advertising campaign is already underway, Hoke said he hopes the VCB remembers local talent in the future. We'll lick our wounds and hope they're more polite next time, he said."

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