Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

East Rutherford Agency to Lead Post-Sandy Ads

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

East Rutherford Agency to Lead Post-Sandy Ads

Article excerpt

New Jersey's bid to promote the state's recovery from superstorm Sandy in advance of the crucial 2013 tourism season will be led by the East Rutherford public relations firm of MWW.

A $25 million advertising contract was awarded to MWW by the state Department of Treasury last week, a spokesman, Bill Quinn, confirmed Wednesday, though a formal announcement has yet to be made.

State officials evaluated four proposals submitted in response to a request for qualifications before selecting MWW, but the names of the companies that submitted the other proposals were not disclosed on Wednesday.

New Jersey plans to pay for the advertising campaign using a portion of the first $1.8 billion in federal Sandy aid even though federal rules generally prohibit using such funds for advertising campaigns.

State officials are confident the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will sign off in this case but won't know for sure until the federal agency officially rules on the Sandy recovery action plan Governor Christie proposed last month.

"We're hoping that will come in very short order," Michele Brown, chief executive of the state Economic Development Authority, said in an Assembly Budget Committee hearing this week.

Brown's agency is set to administer the advertising campaign and other grant programs under the state's Sandy action plan.

"The federal government will permit us to use money for a very targeted advertising and marketing program designed at bringing business back to the state," Brown told the committee members this week.

A spokeswoman for Brown's agency did not respond to requests for comment on the advertising contract on Wednesday.

MWW is based in East Rutherford, but also has offices in Trenton, New York City, Washington and Los Angeles, among other locations. The public relations and lobbying company is headed by Michael Kempner of Cresskill, a fundraiser for President Obama and recent delegate to the Democratic National Convention. …

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