COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s tourism agency didn’t have to turn to Florida or Massachusetts or even South Carolina’s big cities for help.
The right skills and ideas were all in Bluffton.
When Bluffton-based BFG Communications won an estimated $57 million state contract this month, the marketing firm beat half a dozen competitors from places such as Winchester, Mass., Tallahassee, Fla., and elsewhere in South Carolina.
BFG Communications, which was founded in 1995 and employs more than 250 people, will replace Leslie Advertising, a Greenville firm that had contracted with the the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for nearly 30 years, said agency spokesman Marion Edmonds. He said the firm changed its name to bounce — lowercase “b” — and later said it was closing its doors, so the agency had to find a new agency.
The contract, which will span six-and-a-half years, is to promote South Carolina as a top travel destination inside and outside the state.
BFG has national clients that include Warner Brothers Entertainment and Hanes Brands. Its proposal, submitted to state procurement and tourism officials, contained case studies of their work, from Coca-Cola’s effort to promote Buffalo Wild Wings, to Tenet Healthcare Corporation’ Hilton Head Hospital.
The firm’s “Voice of the Community” rebranding campaign, according to BFG proposal materials on file with the state, “helped to further establish (Hilton Head Regional Healthcare) as an important, trusted and active member of the Lowcountry.”
“Our marketing efforts were instrumental in a 10-20 percent increase in patients,” reads the firm’s case study. It said Tenet Health’s stock boomed after BFG launched its campaign.
Firms that submitted proposals included the Zimmerman Agency of Tallhassee, Fla., and FuseIdeas of Winchester, Mass., according to the S.C. Budget & Control Board. Candidates from South Carolina included Erwin Penland of Greenville, Solution Business Partners of Mount Pleasant, Jackson Marketing Group of Greenville, The Brandon Agency of Myrtle Beach and Levelwing of Charleston.