Government of Ontario puts ad vendors into review

A new RFP will establish a qualified pool of agencies that can enter second-stage pitches for government marketing contracts.

The Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is preparing to review the agencies that make up its vendors of record for advertising and marketing services.

Published on Friday, the government’s RFP seeks to establish a group of qualified agencies to compete for work on ad campaigns and marketing-related contracts. The deadline for questions on the RFP is Aug. 24, with the RFP closing for submissions on Sept. 10.

Instead of selecting one AOR, the VOR model creates a pool of pre-authorized vendors that can then enter second-stage pitches, conducted by the Advertising Review Board, for any government contracts valued at over $25,000. The scope of these projects can include creative strategy and development, production, account management, strategic planning, cooperative marketing, influencer work, owned channel integration, content planning, insights development and reporting. The RFP also states that projects may include multicultural and Indigenous marketing.

The VOR model is meant to provide more flexibility for all the different ministries and corporations that fall under the government’s purview, which can have a range of objectives. A pre-qualification process is also meant to simplify the pitching processes for agencies, which can be notoriously rigorous when it comes to government work.

The new VORs assignments are expected to begin in December for a two-year term, with the option to extend for a further year. That’s the same term length set during the government’s last agency review in 2019, which ended with 34 agencies being selected as part of the pool. The current RFP does not state how many agencies will be selected this time around.

The Government of Ontario recently moved its media buying to a VOR model. Last month, it announced the 14 agencies that made up two separate pools: one for traditional media buying, and another for digital and social.