BIA weighs ending contract with ad firm

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 23, 2009, at 10:30 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Trouble in Paradise?

Bangor International Airport officials met with city councilors this week to discuss the option of terminating a contract with Paradise Advertising and Marketing, a Florida-based firm that was hired in late 2007 to promote the airport.

Risteen Masters, BIA’s marketing director, told councilors and city staff that Paradise has produced little in the year or so since they were contracted. What the firm has produced has been sub-par, she said.

“It’s been frustrating,” Masters said. “But most of all, it’s disappointing because we had such high hopes.”

BIA Director Rebecca Hupp told councilors that the airport is strongly considering ending its three-year contract, and some councilors wondered why it had not done so already.

“Why weren’t they fired sooner?” Councilor Hal Wheeler asked. “There seems to be no alternative but to change agencies.”

Paradise has produced some radio and print advertisements and other promotional materials for BIA since October 2007. Only within the last month, though, did it submit a television advertisement, something the airport had requested from the beginning, Masters said. The 30-second spot, which has been running during 6 p.m. newscasts in the Bangor area, was met with mixed reviews among councilors.

“We were relatively satisfied with the commercial, but it took awhile to get there,” Hupp said. “We think it could have been much better.”

When hired, Paradise projected that its costs to the city would be about $3,125 a month with a maximum fee of $5,000 per month. It wasn’t clear this week how much the city has paid to Paradise during the last 15 months.

The firm, which has offices in St. Petersburg and Naples, Fla., was chosen among 14 advertising agencies that submitted proposals to the city back in 2007. Of the 14 proposals, 11 were from Maine, two were from other New England states, and the last was from Paradise.

Councilor Rick Bronson, who was not on the council when Bangor tapped Paradise, said it was sad that officials went all the way to Florida to find an ad agency.

“Don’t we want to keep that money here?” he said.

According to Hupp, Paradise was selected because it had the most experience working with airports and because it came highly recommended.

“Unfortunately, the results are not what we saw initially,” she said.

A spokesman for Paradise, reached by telephone on Friday, deferred any comments on the situation to BIA representatives.

The city has a 30-day termination clause in its contract with Paradise, and Hupp told councilors, “Our expectation is that they will be let go.”

erussell@bangordailynews.net

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http://bangordailynews.com/2009/01/23/business/bia-weighs-ending-contract-with-ad-firm/ printed on October 31, 2014