What’s wrong with Connecticut ad agencies?

Nothing, but there IS a lot wrong with Connecticut government agencies and politicians.

Op-ed submit bug

The latest is the stir caused by the revelation that the contenders for some of the highest offices in the state have brought in hired guns from New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia and Chicago to handle their campaign marketing communications. Over $1 million of the monies spent were taxpayer dollars. A million bucks going out of state at a time when everyone in Hartford is slashing programs and seeking to raise taxes.

It’s hypocritical, should be indictable, and is ignorant beyond measure.

But, it’s not without precedent.

Last year The Connecticut State Lottery, in its infinite wisdom, decided to assign its advertising account and all the revenues that went with it to an agency in Massachusetts. Admittedly, the lottery had established a reputation for being both unrealistically demanding and very cheap, but much of this was undeserved and the rest, the lion’s share, came out of ignorance both of how agencies work (and make money) and how to craft an effective RFP.

The lottery followed a grand tradition started two or three years back when the Connecticut State Department of Tourism assigned its account to a consortium of agencies one as far away as St. Louis; two New York based shops, and, oh yes, a Waterbury-based research group. I guess they figure one out of four is OK.

This is sick!

At a time when the state is pinching pennies up and down the line, to send these revenues to New York, Massachusetts and for God’s sake, Missouri, is not only irresponsible, it displays a level of ignorance that’s hard to fathom.

Let’s start with lower Fairfield County, which is the center of the marketing communications agency universe. Do these state and political geniuses believe that not one of the agencies there is capable of handling any of these businesses? Tell that to The Ryan Partnership in Wilton, or Catapult in Westport or Colangelo in Darien…and on and on.

And it’s not just Fairfield County. The state has a rich history of fine agencies in and around Hartford and New Haven. Is there some hidden reason none of these shops in the politicians’ own backyards aren’t up to this challenge? Nonsense!

Joe Dell' Aquila
Joe Dell’ Aquila

Let’s hope that going forward the powers that be wise up to the situation, realize what they have available in state and patronize some of the supremely qualified agencies that live, work and PAY TAXES in the State of Connecticut.

Joe Dell’ Aquila is one of two general partners of Trade Area Marketing Group, LLC of Weston.

Leave a comment