The New Jersey firm that was awarded a contract to create the campaign for Jersey Shore tourism following Hurricane Sandy is insisting that it did not pitch an appearance by Gov. Chris Christie (R) in its ads. Rather, the firm said, it proposed a long list of state icons including Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
Some have argued that MWW was awarded the contract, which was $2.2 million higher than the lowest bidder’s proposal, because it included Christie in the ads — an appearance that increased his exposure during re-election last year. However the firm put out a statement Monday denying that Christie’s name was in the original pitch.
Josh Zeitz, a senior vice president at MWW, told Politico that both Springsteen and Bon Jovi were on tour, and that the firm then turned to Christie after it was awarded the bid.
The initial proposal in March suggested an extensive list of New Jersey-born musicians, actors, writers and athletes.
“Of course, icons are people as well as places,” the proposal states. “New Jersey gave the world Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Frankie [Valli] and Queen Latifah. Joe Budden and Redman. James Gandolfini, Anne Hathaway, Joe Pesci, Philip Roth and Toni Morrison. Eli Manning and Shaquille O’Neal. These other Jersey icons are the best ambassadors for the brand. Any successful campaign should lean on their shared affinity for the shore.”
In the Monday statement, MWW also pushed back against claims that its bid was more expensive than that of its main competitor. The firm said that while its labor costs were higher, its ad campaign concept was less expensive.
“The IG’s audit will also show that MWW’s final proposal came in at $22.255 million, while the runner-up’s proposal was $23.725 million,” the statement from MWW continued. “That means MWW came in at the lower overall bid by $1.47 million and offered the lowest hourly rates of all bidders.”