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Commerce Corporation Chooses Rhode Island Firms for Advertising Campaign

Commerce Corporation Chooses Rhode Island Firms for Advertising Campaign Local agencies Nail and RDW Group to be Principals in Efforts to Market Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND—Feb. 27, 2017—The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today announced that it has selected three vendors to execute its upcoming tourism campaign. At this month's meeting, the Commerce Corporation Board voted to authorize the Commerce Corporation to enter into agreements with NAIL Communications, the RDW Group, and NJF, an MMGY Global company.

Under the leadership of Lara Salamano, the state's Chief Marketing Officer, these three firms will coordinate aspects of the state's tourism campaigns, including content creation, advertising, media buying, and public relations. Both NAIL and RDW Group are based in Providence.

"As a Rhode Island native, this is especially exciting," said Lara Salamano, Chief Marketing Officer for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. "The agencies selected represent a tremendous amount of local knowledge, creativity, resourcefulness and most importantly, industry expertise. Competition for tourism dollars and business development opportunities is strong, and these partners will help us showcase the many elements that make our state such a special place to live, visit, and work."

The Corporation received 36 responses to the RFP that was issued in November. Staff representing the Executive Office of Commerce, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the state's regional tourism bureaus, and business leaders including representatives of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, participated in the review of nine contractors (three Rhode Island based) who were selected to present their respective proposed plans and credentials.

The Corporation will enter into separate agreements with these agencies on March 1, 2017 for a 12- month agreement; with the option to renew for an additional 12 months. With the funding as follows: • RDW Group: $1.7M • NAIL: $978,000 • MMGY: $473,000

RDW Group, Inc. is a Rhode Island based full service agency offering advertising, digital marketing, public relations, media planning and buying, web development and marketing services to a wide range of clients across a broad industry sectors.

The RDW Group was selected due to their current Master Price Agreement with the state. As a result, they offer the lowest commission rate for media buying at five percent. "RDW is very happy to be selected," said Jim Malachowski, Chairman/Managing Partner, RDW Group, Inc. "We are providing our services at a deeply discounted rate as we want to do our part to help our state grow and prosper."

NAIL Communications is based in Providence, R.I. and past clients include New Balance, the Providence Foundation, and the Rhode Island Food Bank.

"We couldn't be more excited. For us, this is like putting on the jersey for the home team for the first time," said Jeremy Crisp, managing partner at NAIL. "We are really looking forward to telling the stories that reflect just how special this little state is." NJF, an MMGY Global company, is the Public Relations, Social and Experiential Marketing practice of MMGY Global, the leading integrated marketing communications firm specializing in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries for more than 35 years. NJF is headquartered in New York City with a satellite office in Boston. "We are excited to work with the state of Rhode Island and its tourism partners to help showcase this dynamic destination to travelers and media," says Julie Freeman, Managing Director, NJF, an MMGY Global company. "We are committed to putting a spotlight on the diversity of its progress, people and tourism offering to help Rhode Island stand out as a must-visit destination in the Northeast." "We commend Lara and her team at the RI Commerce Corporation on selecting these talented and capable firms to lead the next chapter in promoting Rhode Island tourism," President and CEO of Discover Newport. "We are optimistic the selected contractors will produce inspiring creative and powerful messaging to ultimately yield strong and tangible results."

"Tourism, and meetings and conventions have a tremendous impact on the local economy," said Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We look forward to working collaboratively with the team at Commerce and these agencies to further position Providence, Warwick and all of Rhode Island as an attractive destination for business and leisure travel."

The Commerce Corporation Board also voted to authorize the Commerce Corporation to enter into agreements with the following firms to execute business attraction campaigns to promote Rhode Island: • NAIL: $454,000 • Havas: $691,000

Havas PR, currently the agency of record for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, has been retained to continue their efforts to attract new business through public relations. Havas PR, founded in Providence 41 years ago, has its global headquarters in New York City. Providence serves as Havas PR's New England hub, servicing RICC as well as Colliers International Group, Merck Millipore Life Science, Primark and WEX, and with pro bono work on behalf of Crossroads Rhode Island and Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We are happy to continue to serve the State of Rhode Island, increasingly a destination for smart and innovative businesses and business leaders," said Marian Salzman, HAVAS PR CEO.

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