SRQ opts for new ad agency

MANATEE — The advertising agency that launched Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport’s branding campaign will be replaced by a new agency, the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority said Monday.

The board ranked a St. Petersburg firm as its top choice to provide advertising services for the airport, and not the Sarasota agency that has had the contract for five years.

Board members said they were satisfied with Be Creative USA Inc.’s work, which included a new logo and an extensive public-awareness campaign for SRQ. But they said they felt Paradise Advertising and Marketing Inc. was a better choice.

“They were a cut above the local companies,” authority member Bob Waechter said of Paradise. “They brought more to the table.”

CAP Brand Marketing, based in Sarasota, was the authority’s second choice among the three short-listed firms vying to make ad buys, develop marketing strategies and provide other advertising services to SRQ.

During their presentations, all advocated expanding SRQ’s marketing efforts into Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Airport officials consider that a key toward increasing passenger traffic, said Fredrick “Rick” Piccolo, SRQ’s president and chief executive.

By ranking Paradise first, authority members authorized Piccolo to negotiate a three-year contract with two potential one-year extensions with the company.

Also on Monday, the authority:

n Awarded a $1.2 million contract to Magnum Builders of Sarasota Inc. to renovate the airport terminal’s public restrooms. The project will take roughly nine months since only one of the building’s nine pairs of restrooms can be closed for renovations at a time.

n Extended, by five years to 2015, the airport’s concession agreements with six car-rental companies.

n Agreed to add 3.8 acres to the lease held by Sarasota FBO LLC, which does business as APP Jet Center Sarasota.

The company plans to expand a fueling facility and replace outdated hangars on the site.

n Agreed to pay the Asolo Theatre $500,000 to vacate land it was leasing from the airport, which also agreed to pay up to $50,000 to sponsor Asolo productions. In a separate action, the board agreed to lease part of the site to Rectrix Aerodome Centers Inc. and give the company an option to lease the remainder. SRQ officials want the land used for aviation-related development.

n Accepted $1.81 million in federal money to relocate the third and final baggage-check machine from the ticketing lobby to behind the ticket counters. The money also will be used to build a conveyer-belt system to and from the machine.

Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.