Colle + McVoy Bags Minneapolis Office of Tourism

The Minnesota Office of Tourism has named Colle + McVoy, Minneapolis, to handle its annual $3 million account for four years.

An estimated 19 agencies submitted proposals, and five, all Minneapolis shops, made the final cut. The finalists included Clarity Coverdale Fury, Bozell Kamstra, Kruskopf Olson and Foley Sackett. Incumbent Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, did not participate in the review.

“Our charge is to promote Minnesota tourism, to look at [telling] people from out of state as well as residents that there are plenty of vacation opportunities for them in our own state,” said Charley Howe, vice president of business development at Colle + McVoy.

The tourism industry in Minnesota is estimated at $8.3 billion a year, generating more than 126,000 jobs and serving 23 million travelers every year.

Colle + McVoy and the state tourism office are in discussions to determine the scope of the business.

Howe said tactics under consideration are direct marketing, brand and product advertising, online and interactive media tie-ins and possibly some public relations to create buzz for promotions.

Advertising will target consumers in North-Central states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. The agency also will key in on Chicago; St. Louis; Des Moines, IA; Kansas City, MO; and Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

“What we want to do is capitalize on the equity of the current 'Explore Minnesota' brand,” Howe said. “Our charge will be to try to elevate that into something that helps create a strong call-to-action.

“The current campaign that Carmichael [Lynch] ran was 'Take Home a Story,' ” he added. “We'll probably do something different.”

Founded in 1935, Colle + McVoy is a full-service agency that reported billings of $186 million for 2000. Canadian-owned MDC Corp.'s Maxxcom marketing services arm bought 80 percent of Colle + McVoy in 1999.

Colle + McVoy clients include Polaris, Associated Banks, 3M, Martin Luther Homes Foundation, Pfizer, Ralston Purina, Land O' Lakes, Weather Shield Windows & Doors and Winnebago Industries.

The agency counts tourism and outdoor recreation marketing among its specialties. It also handles accounts such as the Professional Golfers' Association of America, Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance, Jazzercise and the Turkish Tourism Board.

As agency of record for the Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance, Colle + McVoy promotes the state as a premier golf destination. The alliance comprises the Minnesota Office of Tourism, the Minnesota Golfers Association, and 40 resorts and golf courses.

The campaign arsenal for the golf alliance includes advertisements and advertorials in leading golf publications, business reply cards and trade show booths. The address is included in all ads.

“Proof of our initial success was that last year — second year in development — one of our areas, Brainerd Lakes, was rated by Golf Digest as being 41st out of 50 best places to play golf in the world,” Howe said.

The agency will start using more image- and awareness-type advertising as well as one-to-one marketing to promote Minnesota to golfers.

But Minnesota has a long way to go before it catches up with other, more aggressively marketed states, hence this new assignment for Colle + McVoy from the Minnesota Office of Tourism. The tourism office is part of the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development.

“Minnesota is not a well-known travel destination,” Howe said.

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