Northwest Seaport Alliance Issues Marketing & Advertising RFP

Northwest Seaport Alliance Issues Marketing & Advertising RFP

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) and Ports of Tacoma and Seattle are soliciting proposals from interested, qualified firms to provide Marketing and Advertising support. The purpose of this procurement is to identify and select the vendor the NWSA believes is the best advertising, marketing and creative design solutions partner. The ports are seeking an agency with whom to collaborate to develop and implement marketing and public affairs messaging for the organizations.


The ports of Seattle and Tacoma joined forces in August 2015 to form NWSA, unifying management of their marine cargo facilities and business to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo and jobs for the region.

The NWSA was the first of its kind in North America, as the fourth-largest container gateway in North America, the NWSA delivers less congestion, closer proximity to Asia and award-winning ease of doing business. The NWSA’s primary customers and partners are international shipping lines, beneficial cargo owners, logistics providers, warehouse and distribution centers, trucking companies and railroads.

Marine cargo operations in the north and south harbors supported more than 48,000 jobs in 2013*, generating nearly $4.3 billion in economic activity. That same year, maritime cargo activity generated $379 million in state and local taxes, which support education, roads and police and fire protection in communities. The NWSA offers 11 container terminals, four terminals for handling non-containerized cargo (breakbulk and project cargo, autos, logs), five on-dock and three near-dock rail yards and one 165-acre auto processing facility with dedicated overpass and direct rail connections. The NWSA prides itself on being proactive and performance-driven. It puts unrelenting focus on anticipating challenges and providing operational excellence and the best complete value to our customers worldwide.

Scope of Work:

The successful agency’s responsibilities will include collaboration with NWSA staff on any of the items below, as required by each participating organization:

  • Develop marketing campaigns, including design and messaging for print and digital ads, to reflect the established NWSA brand.
  • Design and print coordination of such publications as the Pacific Gateway magazine and annual reports.
  • Developing marketing materials, including fliers, brochures, booth displays, ads, postcards and banners.
  • Providing analysis, advice and support for marketing campaigns.

The Vendor will be expected to perform all functions normally required of a full-service marketing and advertising agency. Key personnel should have at least 10 years of experience in communications strategy, brand management, marketing and advertising. Business-to-business marketing experience is essential; experience within the shipping/seaport industry is preferred.

Marketing message development:

The Vendor will assist in developing NWSA’s marketing messaging and creative design in collaboration with the Public Affairs and Commercial departments to meet objectives and budget. The marketing plans may include advertising, trade show sponsorships and participation, direct mail and email campaigns, and supporting materials, such as brochures, post cards, fliers, print and digital ads, banners and other trade show materials.

The Vendor is expected to recommend campaign ideas, messages and materials that reflect the best, most effective practices available in the shipping/seaport economic development.

The Vendor must work within an annual budget for fees and hard costs related to all marketing and advertising expenditures and other services required by this RFP or the contract resulting from this RFP. The level of anticipated annual spending will be determined by the NWSA. The alliance will expect the Vendor to develop a cost-effective plan that is responsive to marketing and advertising needs. The Vendor must recommend ways to generate cost savings wherever possible and provide quantitative and qualitative measurements that illustrate the return on investment for marketing and advertising programming. The Vendor must make no commitment on behalf of the ports or NWSA without prior approval.

The Vendor will be responsible for creative design, copywriting and production of printed materials produced in support of the alliance’s advertising efforts and will be approved by the NWSA. The Vendor will be required to produce an annual report, two magazine-style publications per year and other printed and digital publications. The ports and NWSA will own all original artwork, layout, design and final product.

The Vendor must offer alternative campaigns rather than only one creative solution to a particular promotion. At least three versions of storyboards, ads and other creative products must be offered when the Vendor makes a creative presentation to the NWSA.

The Vendor will be expected to obtain written approval from the ports or NWSA before producing any advertisement or related material. When producing any creative work, the Vendor must not vary from approved scripts, copy, storyboards or layouts without the NWSA’s written approval. The Vendor will be liable for all costs if advertisements or collateral materials are executed in a manner not consistent with the NWSA’s written approval.

The Vendor shall charge the NWSA only one time for artwork that is used in multiple forms, except for the reduction or enlargement of the artwork. Artwork required for any print advertisements must be billed as a one-time item. Any duplication of charges for artwork will be rejected. All original artwork becomes the property of the home port or NWSA and will be delivered upon request.

Following creative bid approval by NWSA staff, the Vendor will be responsible for the execution, creation and production of marketing materials, including print and digital advertising and other materials that may be required by the NWSA. The Vendor must develop multi-media campaigns    in support of the promotions identified in the NWSA’s marketing plan. The Vendor may also be required to assist the ports or NWSA in developing slogans, logos, illustrations, maps, copywriting or art for other uses. Vendor will use the NWSA’s approved printers and mail houses for production.

The Vendor will submit all production estimates for NWSA approval. Estimates must clearly indicate any subcontractors or other parties who will be involved in the production work and where those parties are located.

Routine meetings between the Vendor and port/NWSA staff will be required. These meetings will include discussions about schedules and planning, concept approvals, pre-production of advertisements or other agency-produced materials. Additional meetings may be held with certain NWSA personnel as needed.

Due Date:

June 20th


PR firms who should be considered for this assignment include Porter Novelli and Shift Communications.

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