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Nevada board picks Ohio company to sell Nevada to tourists

CARSON CITY — A state board on Tuesday approved a $20.2 million contract with an out-of-state firm to market Nevada to tourists.

The state Board of Examiners chaired by Gov. Brian Sandoval approved the 2½-year contract with Fahlgren Mortine, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

Claudia Vecchio, director of the Department of Tourism, said the firm was chosen after a competitive bidding process overseen by the state purchasing. Fahlgren Mortine replaces New York-based Burson-Marsteller.

About half of the contract amount — $9.6 million — is targeted for media buys. Vecchio said Fahlgren will also partner with The Abbi Agency, a Reno-based public relations and marketing firm.

Vecchio described Fahlgren as “one of the best marketing agencies in the country,” adding the firm bid a lower commission fee, 4 percent, than others who submitted bids. Eight proposals were received.

The contract will involve producing a new commercial to attract tourists to the Silver State, though the state’s catchy theme song, “Don’t Fence Me In,” will still be part of the marketing campaign.

“Same song, new commercials,” Vecchio said.

“From a tourism standpoint, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ is really resonating with people,” she told the board.

The marketing agency will also complete a Nevada tourism app for mobile devices.

Television, print and digital commercials will target Nevada’s main domestic tourism markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix.

Sandoval pushed for a state brand and renewed efforts to lure tourists when he first took office. The state brand, “A world within, a state apart,” is taking root and being noticed, officials said.

Vecchio said the brand “is working” and said Nevada’s return on its marketing investments has roughly doubled over the past few years.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb.

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