4   +   10   =  

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, architects of the failed and much maligned Cooler & Warmer advertising and public relations fiasco, has put out a request for proposal for a new tourism campaign and state wide business initiative.  

“The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is soliciting a Request for Proposal (RFP) from a qualified firm or firms to retain an advertising and/or public relations agency to assist with the strategy and execution of a comprehensive, statewide business attraction initiative. An RFP has also been released for a Tourism Advertising and/or Public Relations Agency(ies) and agencies are welcome to apply for both Business Attraction and Tourism Public Relations or Advertising sectors if applicable.

The strategy’s purpose is to provide a targeted action strategy that complements partner efforts while focusing activities within appropriate industries and markets. The strategy will provide a platform for a targeted business attraction marketing plan to be created. It will also provide guidance for where the business attraction program should focus its time, understand which industries to target and define roles for the business attraction program.

The contract period for the Scope of Work contained within this RFP will be approximately the first quarter of 2017 to June 30, 2018. Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

Proposers are invited to respond to the advertising scope of work only, the public relations scope of work only, or both scopes of work. Proposers should state clearly in their response whether they are responding to the advertising scope, public relations scope, or both. If a Proposer seeks to respond to both the advertising and public relations scope, it should submit a two-part response, one part addressing advertising and one part addressing public relations with separate information on strategy, personnel, budget and costs for each component. This is important as the advertising and public relations proposals will be scored separately. Finally, Proposers responding to both advertising and public relations components should be mindful that they may be awarded one component of the scope of work but not the other.

Project Overview

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (the “Corporation”) seeks a firm or firms able to develop public relations and advertising campaign strategies for business attraction; manage production and development of creative that inspires, informs and drives action; evaluate media opportunities and plan media buys; identify promotional opportunities; cultivate strategic partnerships; and provide research & analytics. The public relations and advertising firm or firms will work collaboratively with website and social media partners.


Rhode Island is engaged in a major effort to further drive the progress of its reimagined brand and its presence for the purpose of projecting a more favorable image to the world. Under the leadership of a jobs-focused Governor and General Assembly, Rhode Island has dedicated substantial financial resources to bring together its people around a new vision for the state—one that brands Rhode Island as the most attractive place in the Northeast to live, grow a business, and visit as a tourist or business traveler.

Rhode Island’s business attraction efforts will support the entire state economy, with a particular emphasis on the following advanced industries in which the state has key strengths:

• Biomedical Innovation

• IT / Software, Cyber-Physical Systems, and Data Analytics

• Defense Shipbuilding and Maritime

• Advanced Business Services

• Design, Food, and Custom Manufacturing

• Arts, Education, Hospitality, and Tourism

• Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

The Corporation promotes Rhode Island in the domestic and international marketplaces, leveraging multiple marketing and communications tactics, including but not limited to public relations, advertising, social media, public engagement programs, business trade and sales outreach. This RFP’s chief focus is business attraction and civic engagement, but these efforts must complement ongoing tourism marketing. The services to be rendered include deploying the brand through earned and paid media, ad buys, social media, trade shows, conferences, public events that raise Rhode Island’s profile and other means.”

Read the full RFP

Responses to this RFP are due by December 12, 2016 by 2:00pm. One (1) electronic (PDF) version and twenty (20) printed copies of the complete proposal must be mailed or hand delivered in a sealed envelope marked:

Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Attention:Business Attraction Public Relations and/or Advertising Agency(ies) RFP
315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101
Providence, RI 02908

So whadda ya say, who’s got the next Warmer & Cooler idea out there?

Wait, I know. They should find smug out-of-state talent who will vastly overcharge us… or maybe they should just stay in state because as we’ve already seen, Rhode Islanders ran circles around the big wigs from NYC last time around.