I have been following the Freedom Works campaign stories that Patrick Lalley has been digging around on, and his latest touches on an industry I have worked in for 30 years;
Lawrence & Schiller didn’t win the $5M contract for Freedom Works Here, but their idea showed up as the centerpiece of the recuitment campaign produced by the governor’s political consultant.
Let’s just say in the marketing, graphics and communications world, highway robbery is common practice. In fact, I would argue that the industry would have collapsed on itself if it wasn’t ‘borrowing’ from itself concepts and ideas.
Where it gets complicated is when that robbery is blatant, like in this case. Most agencies know that you need to ‘tweak’ a concept you ‘borrowed’ just a tinge so you don’t have finger pointers.
The problem in this case is that the winning bidder (who suddenly popped up a day before presenting their bid and has deep political ties to Noem’s alleged boy toy) never submitted a creative concept. The losing bidder did, and it looks pretty close to final concept.
This doesn’t surprise me. Pierre is full of empty suits that wouldn’t know an original idea if it hit them like a runaway manure spreader.
But the denial by Noem’s staffer says it all;
The accusation that Go West used the creative from another firm’s bid is “completely false,” said Fury in a statement to Sioux Falls Live.
“The only similarity between the campaigns was the use of Gov. Noem’s image,” Fury said. “The chosen campaign works because of its humorous approach, specific metrics, and targeting to fill our specific job openings. We encourage L&S to be transparent by releasing their own creative pitch so that South Dakotans can see the difference for themselves.”
They are NOT going to do that. This agency has deep political ties to the state and the SD GOP and it would be a grave misstep to f’ck up that relationship over a stolen concept and I wouldn’t doubt if they were brought in as a 3rd party contractor on the project (Go West hired them to do the creative).
UPDATE: I was informed by Lalley that L & S was NOT a 3rd party contributor.
But we will never know.