The North Carolina Education Lottery (“NCEL”), a state agency created pursuant to the North Carolina State Lottery Act (G.S. § 18C-101 et seq.), is issuing this Request for Proposal (“RFP”) to invite responses (“Proposals”) from qualified and reputable Advertising and Media Agency Services firms licensed to do business in North Carolina (“Contractors”) to provide: (1) Creative, Advertising and Marketing Communication Services; and (2) Media Planning and Buying Services. The NCEL’s goal is to award a contract covering each of these two (2) types of services to a Successful Contractor or Contractors to provide Advertising and Media Agency Services to the NCEL.
Two Phases: This RFP is being issued by the NCEL in two (2) distinct phases.
In Phase I, any interested firm may submit a completed Contractor’s Capabilities Proposal describing its qualifications as described in the Phase I submissions section. The NCEL will evaluate and assign a score to each Contractor’s Capabilities Proposal according to the evaluation criteria specified in this RFP. The Contractors receiving the highest scores (not more than five (5) firms in each of the two (2) service areas for which Proposals are sought) will be selected as finalists and invited to submit detailed Phase II Proposals for further evaluation.
In Phase II, finalists will submit detailed Technical and Cost Proposals and will be invited to make formal in-person presentations of their Proposals at their offices. For a finalist competing only for one of the two available contracts, the NCEL will schedule a presentation session of up to 90 minutes. For a finalist competing for both of the available contracts, the NCEL will schedule a presentation session of up to two (2) hours. The NCEL will evaluate and assign a score to each of the finalists’ Proposals and rank the Proposals in each of the two service areas according to the evaluation criteria specified in this RFP. The NCEL will then issue a notice of award to the Contractor(s) receiving the highest score in each of the two service areas and proceed to sign two separate contracts (one for each of the service areas) or a single contract (if one Contractor receives the highest scores in both service areas). If a contract award fails for any reason, the NCEL may proceed to award a contract to the Contractor who submitted the next highest ranked Proposal in each of the two service areas until both contracts are successfully awarded and executed.
The mission of the North Carolina Education Lottery is to raise revenue to maximize contributions to education for the State of North Carolina through the sale of lottery tickets/products. This is accomplished by providing entertaining games through a dynamic business enterprise built upon honesty, integrity, innovation and teamwork. Lottery ticket/product sales began in March 2006. Since then, the NCEL has contributed more than $6.24 billion to education and has grown fiscal year sales to more than $2.6 billion, making it one of the most successful sales and marketing organizations in the State. The NCEL is the only US lottery to achieve year-over-year growth in sales for every year since its inception. Critical to this success is the NCEL’s relationship with its approximately 6,933 NCEL licensed retailers which include convenience stores, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, pharmacies and other community based commercial enterprises. A sales force of more than 100 personnel operating out of corporate headquarters and five (5) regional offices provide support service to the NCEL’s growing retailer base.
Other highlights of FY18 include (for purposes of this RFP, NCEL Fiscal Year (FY) is based upon the time period of July 1 through June 30):
O $2.61 billion in sales, an increase of 7.3% over FY17
O $670.3 million in earnings for education, up 7.7% over FY17
O $20.88 billion in total sales since inception
O Paying $182 million in commissions to retailers in FY18.
O Supporting Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and self-identified minority- ownedbusinesses in North Carolina with $8.3 million in contracts either from the NCEL or itsContractors in FY18.
Scope of Work:
Prior to the start of each Fiscal Year (July), the NCEL will provide the Successful Contractor with a marketing plan, including product introduction schedules and business priorities, as well as an estimated annual budget (pending approval by the NC State Lottery Commission). The plan shall clearly define marketing and advertising strategies. The NCEL staff and the Successful Contractor staff will meet as required, and at least on a monthly basis, to review the marketing objectives and strategies, with modifications being made as market and/or business needs arise.
CREATIVE, ADVERTISING AND MARKETING COMMUNICATION SERVICES
Each proposal to provide Creative, Advertising and Marketing Communication Services must address the following estimated Scope of Work. Note: This estimated Scope of Work is intended to allow each Potential Contractor to respond to uniform requirements to enable the NCEL to fairly compare and evaluate competing Proposals; it is not intended to completely describe all the requirements for the Creative, Advertising and Marketing Communication Services Contractor throughout the term of the proposed contract.
Subject to the instructions and decisions of the NCEL, the Successful Contractor will be responsible for the following services including, but not limited to, the following:
A. Business Development and Collaboration – Become a partner in the development and evolution of the NCEL business, brand and product portfolio to further the NCEL’s mission of maximizing net revenues for education. The NCEL expects that the entire Agency team will be committed to the same goals as the NCEL and will create and execute programs that will deliver on those objectives. Although some turn-over of agency staff is anticipated by the NCEL, agency staff should be trained on the business to minimize the impact of such turnover. Furthermore, the NCEL anticipates growth and expects agency’s teams to increase as needed to manage such volume when necessary for the NCEL’s continued growth.
1. Agency personnel assigned to the account are expected to build and maintain an industry knowledge base that will support business decisions and recommendations.
a. Each year, two (2) individuals from the Agency team must attend industry conferences or training seminars, such as PGRI, NASPL and WLA, and share learnings and industry best practice with the broader team and NCEL Brand Management & Communications team.
2. Manage the NCEL account without over-dependence on email or other electronic correspondence. Although there are many acceptable uses for electronic correspondence, such as email, one-on-one meetings are required for presentations, creative and media, including additional, follow up as a result of those meetings.
3. On-site meetings at NCEL offices will be held as required and at a minimum of twice monthly to discuss the state of the business and plans for upcoming initiatives.
4. The NCEL will be responsible for the travel expenses including airline tickets, rental car, mileage, meals, and hotel accommodation associated with these industry conferences/tradeshows. Reimbursement for mileage, meals, and hotel accommodation will be made at the approved state-rate.
B. Dedicated Account Management – Provide a seasoned, dedicated account team that will work collaboratively with the NCEL’s Advertising team to manage the daily activities of the account. This Account Group will be assigned exclusively to the NCEL business. A key role of the Account Management Team is to become thoroughly involved with the NCEL’s business and keep on top of industry trends, sales performance, and product developments. They will also work closely with the Account Planning group to ensure that consumer-centric strategies are being developed that tie into the NCEL’s business objectives. The Account Team will be responsible for establishing regular communications between the Media Team, Creative Team and any additional agency teams supporting the NCEL business to ensure seamless integration of the advertising program. The Account team will also be responsible for preparation of the following reports:
1. Status Report – Weekly status reports will be issued detailing all current projects, production jobs, promotional events, reporting, and meetings. Status reports shall include timelines for all initiatives, allowing no fewer than five (5) business days for NCEL approval at any stage.
2. Annual Advertising Plans – Based on the NCEL’s Fiscal Year (July – June) and following receipt of the NCEL’s Marketing Plan, the Agency is expected to prepare an annual advertising plan in partnership with the Director of Advertising which must include at a minimum:
a. Innovative approaches for planned business initiatives, including how these strategies achieve the NCEL’s goals with measurable Key Performance Indicators for post-initiative evaluations.
b. A general breakdown of proposed spending for production, talent, research, and other projected expenses.
c. Opportunities for special events, promotional activities, and any other topics specified by the NCEL.
C. Strategic Account Planning / Market Research Recommendations / Brand Metric and Advertising Communication Tracking – Provide a team of experts in strategic planning. The team’s responsibility will be to gain and transfer extensive knowledge of the NCEL’s current and potential player groups. Alongside the NCEL’s Advertising and Research Teams, it is also their responsibility to propose market research as necessary to gain such consumer insights to inform strategic direction for the account.
1. In conjunction with the NCEL and the Creative Management Team, develop and implement a brand campaign that significantly raises awareness and understanding of the NCEL, its games and beneficiary contributions, while fundamentally increasing the impact of the brand by creating an iconic relevance between the brand and the North Carolina culture.
2. The Strategic Account Planners must be responsible for the development of consumer-led strategies for all initiatives, providing relevant consumer insights or recommendations to support the proposed initiatives in annual advertising planning and drafting of all creative briefs. Planners will work closely with the Account Team(s) to gain a thorough understanding of the NCEL’s business objectives and product specifications to enable the Planners to develop consumer insights to deliver effective marketing and advertising strategies that will achieve stated objectives for each initiative and the account as a whole.
3. A Strategic Account Planner is expected to attend any research presentations or testing involving information the NCEL believes to be beneficial to the Successful Contractors lottery business knowledge even if the research has been conducted by another NCEL vendor/partner.
D. Creative development and production of Advertising, Marketing Communications, and Retail Point-of-Sale materials – Develop effective, breakthrough creative and produce it with high-quality production standards in the most cost-efficient manner. Creative includes, but is not limited to, television, radio, print, out-of-home, and digital advertising, plus an extensive array of merchandising items and point-of-sale materials for a retailer network of more than 7,000. Agency may also be required to assist the NCEL in developing game names, product logos, or art for other use. The Agency shall ensure all creative elements are produced and distributed on time and on budget. In addition to the costs associated with image retouching and the production of mechanicals, the agency may bill an agreed upon hourly rate for the development of layouts for point-of-sale for campaigns.
1. Creative Management – Among other things, the Successful Contractor shall provide comprehensive creative management through direct involvement from a dedicated Creative Director, from concept presentation to final approval of produced work. This Creative Director may work with different creative teams and is not required to be exclusive to the NCEL, but must be the key creative team member and a part of all meetings involving creative and attend all productions.
2. Creative Brief – The NCEL shall provide the Agency with a briefing document for each advertising initiative that provides a business opportunity, product overview, campaign objectives, general strategy, key consumer insights, project budget, sales targets and other measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which the campaign will be evaluated. The Agency Account Planning group and Account Management team will then develop a Creative Brief, to include a key message, which will inform the Creative Teams about strategy and the initiative details and guide creative development. The Agency’s Creative Brief shall be approved by the NCEL prior to briefing the Creative Teams and all creative presented will be evaluated based on its delivery against the creative brief.
3. Creative Concepts – The Agency shall develop advertising and marketing creative that represents the NCEL brand in a positive light and in a manner consistent with the brand identity, and where there is a relevant existing campaign platform (e.g., Instant Scratch Off’s “First Tuesday”) consistent with that campaign platform. For new campaigns, the Agency shall present overarching 360° big idea platforms, with at least three (3) on-brief creative routes for each potential platform. This 360° big idea platform includes creative executions for TV (story-boards required), radio (scripts required), digital, POS/POP, and social media and all elements should be presented during the creative presentation. For existing campaigns, the Agency shall present at least three (3) creative options for each medium that fit with the campaign’s overarching 360° big idea platform.
4. Creative Timelines – The Agency shall plan creative development schedules that allow sufficient time for developing and presenting integrated creative solutions, editing and revising selected options, obtaining final approvals from the NCEL staff, producing the final product, and distributing the finished product according to NCEL specifications. Creative development timelines should also allow for concept and script refinement, through concept testing ensuring message clarity, general comprehension, and appeal. Additionally, Agency time plans need to allow for a signed off 360° big idea platform, creative route and execution-style guides for use by the NCEL in-house creative department. Unless otherwise approved by the NCEL, all timelines shall include a minimum of five (5) business days for approval by the NCEL at every stage of each job or project. The Agency shall provide detailed production schedules with task milestones for each job.
Phase I Contractor Capability Proposals – March 1st, 2019.
Phase II Proposals – April 17th, 2019.
North Carolina Education Lottery
Professional Advertising, Media and Related Services