Advertising Literacy Campaign
Federal Trade Commission, Financial Management Office | Published July 30, 2008 - Deadline September 2, 2008
This is a COMBINED SYNOPSIS/SOLICITATION for commercial services prepared in accordance with the format in Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Part 12, Subpart 12.6 as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; proposals are being requested and a WRITTEN SOLICITATION WILL NOT BE ISSUED. This solicitation includes the provisions and clauses of the FAR through FAC 05-26 dated 6/2/08. This request is being advertised as a request for quote: Request for Quote (RFQ) Number FTCERF29-81213 for the Advertising Literacy Campaign in support of the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Consumer and Business Education (DCBE) - NJ-2267, 600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20580. The type of contract anticipated to be awarded from this combined synopsis/solicitation is a Time and Materials, Level-of-Effort, Performance Based Service Contract with a base contract period of one year with 3 option periods of 1 year each. This solicitation is not set aside. Agency Overview: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. The FTC maintains a website, www.ftc.gov, and a national toll-free telephone line (1-877-FTC-HELP) to respond to requests for information and accept consumer complaints. As the nation's consumer protection agency, the FTC, through its Division of Advertising Practices, enforces truth-in-advertising laws, monitors and develops effective enforcement strategies for new advertising techniques and media, such as word-of-mouth marketing; monitors and reports on the advertising of food to children, including the impact of practices by food companies and the media on childhood obesity; and monitors and reports on industry practices regarding the marketing of violent movies, music, and electronic games to children. Building on that expertise, the FTC, through its Division of Consumer and Business Education (DCBE), will develop an interactive campaign dealing with advertising that would teach tweens and the adults in their lives to be more discerning consumers of information. DCBE produces and disseminates objective, practical and plain language information to consumers, and has created a network of partners and intermediaries that includes public agencies at the federal, state and local levels, industry associations, and non-profit and advocacy organizations. The issues covered range from identity theft to online safety; green marketing to health claims; from telemarketing fraud to phishing - and include a soon-to-be launched website to explain the FTC to kids ages 10-14. The agency is a trusted brand for consumers and businesses, and has an excellent reputation among media outlets for the "news" of the day, as well for the "news people can use." In building out this particular campaign, the FTC is seeking guidance from a contractor with experience and expertise in reaching youngsters, as well as their parents and educators. We recommend that contractors review the FTC's consumer education materials for an understanding of the many issues the FTC manages. These sites are available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm. Contractors also should review the following education campaign web sites and products for an appreciation of the latest initiatives and strategies implemented: 1) Consumer education video on how to avoid ID theft www.ftc.gov/idtheft; 2) Interactive games and quizzes about Internet safety www.onguardonline.gov/quiz/index.html; 3) Phishing videos: www.youtube.com/user/FTCvideos; 4) Teaser sites: www.wemarket4u.net/fatfoe/index.html, www.wemarket4u.net/glucobate/index.html; 5) Teen drinking prevention: www.dontserveteens.gov/ ; 6) E-cards: Phishing, www.ftc.gov/phishing, Father's Day Phishing www.ftc.gov/dad, Mother's Day www.ftc.gov/mom, Work-at-home scams www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/multimedia/ecards/bizopps/fairytale/index.html; 7) Business guidance: Web-based tutorial for businesses about protecting personal information http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/multimedia/interactive/infosecurity/index.html Scope of Work: Advertising in America is a multi-billion dollar a year business. Truthful advertising provides consumers with the information they need to make better-informed purchasing decisions. It also gives companies an incentive to include features in their products that consumers want. Children have tremendous spending power. For example, tweens spend about $51 billion annually, and their parents and family members spend an additional $170 billion on them. More than a third of parents with children between the ages of six and 11 in the household say that their children can significantly influence their purchasing decisions. By some estimates, American companies are spending $10-12 billion a year on advertising and marketing related to youth 2-18 (including ads targeted to adults for youth-related products and services). Recognizing this, advertisers and marketers have made children a focal point of advertising and marketing programs. For example, it has been estimated that, each year, the average American child between the ages of two and 11 sees 25,600 television commercials. About 22 percent of these ads are for food; 29 percent promote other TV programs; 8 percent are for games, toys, and hobbies; another 8 percent are for screen and audio entertainment; and 3 percent are for OTC medicines. Children as young as three recognize brand logos, with brand loyalty influence starting at age two. About 53 percent of tweens and 29 percent of teens report that they try to buy products that they've seen on TV or in the movies. Given this phenomenon, the FTC proposes to develop an interactive campaign focused on advertising literacy. The campaign will educate children aged 8-12, and the adults in their lives, to be more discerning consumers of information. The FTC seeks to be neither pro- nor anti-advertising; rather, it wants to help kids better understand advertising. The goals of the campaign are to raise awareness of advertising and marketing messages; increase knowledge of how to skillfully read, analyze, and understand an advertisement; and demonstrate the benefits of being an informed consumer. The content of the campaign will be provided by the FTC, and be based upon the agency's experience with the subject matter, a public workshop to be held in 2008-2009, and the experiences of a network of partners. Resources available for this campaign are funds for this contract and FTC staff time; there is no separate budget for advertising. Central to the campaign are some common-sense questions to help young people use critical thinking skills to become savvy consumers in today=s media-rich world: 1) Who is responsible for the ad? Kids should know that whoever is responsible for an ad will have a goal in mind, and that will influence the message in the ad. 2) What is the ad actually saying? This may be obvious in a traditional commercial or print ad, but can be less so in other forms of advertising, including games, product integration, or mobile marketing. The campaign will show kids how to decode and deconstruct ads, no matter what form they take, to find the basic message directed to them. 3) Why is the ad there? The campaign will ask kids to think about the call to action in the ad, and what the advertiser wants them to do. Once exposed to those central messages, the target audience(s) should understand that ads are constructed to give them information and to persuade them to take some action - whether it=s doing something to help themselves or society, being more aware of an issue, buying a particular product, or something else. While the focus of the campaign is on advertising and marketing - helping young people and their parents analyze advertising messages - the critical thinking skills that are central to the campaign, and that kids are learning in other contexts, will be helpful as they interact with all kinds of media throughout their lives. The FTC is seeking a contractor to provide a variety of services in support of this campaign to empower children and their parents to be more discerning consumers of information. The contractor shall demonstrate experience: 1) developing successful interactive, multi-media, web-based methods for communicating with young audiences; 2) developing curricula to deliver content to young people; 3) developing engaging, inviting and appropriate materials to deliver content to young people; and 4) successfully marketing this information to young people, whether through media or through developing partnerships with influential organizations (schools, libraries, other organizations). Target Audiences: The primary audience for this campaign is youngsters aged 8-12. The advertising industry itself talks of the buying power - and influence - of this cohort, and continues to find new ways to reach them, including viral marketing, "advergaming", and other interactive media. In addition, both research and observation tell us that children experience media differently than adults; in fact, children=s ability to comprehend and evaluate advertising messages has spurred a good deal of debate and research over the past 30 years. One conclusion by researchers is that children in different age groups have different information processing skills. Many categorize children aged 8-12 as "cued processors" - able to retrieve and use information, engaging critical thinking skills, but only when cued. Kids in this age group tend not to think critically and often fail to differentiate between central and peripheral content when learning new information. Our aim is to give them some tools they can use, and some cues on when to use them at a time when many of them are starting to have their own money, make independent purchasing decisions, and exert influence on the family=s buying decisions. The secondary audience for this campaign includes parents and educators, primarily as a mechanism to reinforce the questions and concepts being delivered to the 8-12-year-old target audience. Both parents and teachers can help cue these children to apply critical thinking skills. We are seeking a contractor with experience reaching: 1) Children aged 8-12; 2) Parents and other caregivers; 3) Teachers and other educators Areas of Interest: The FTC seeks a contractor to assist the agency in the design, implementation and marketing of a campaign to promote advertising literacy, including the following: 1) Developing successful interactive, multimedia, web-based methods for communicating with young audiences: The contractor shall work with the FTC to create and implement an interactive website designed to engage youngsters in the target age group. Games and activities should illustrate the core concepts and key questions about understanding advertising. The site also will have sections with resources for parents and teachers to use and download. The construction of the interactive website is expected to occupy much of the first year of the campaign. Subsequently, the contractor will be tasked with developing innovative tools to enhance the agency's ability to effectively and efficiently deliver the campaign message to both primary and secondary target audiences. Products to be created may include print materials, and CDs and DVDs suitable for use in schools and libraries. A) Developing curricula to deliver content to young people: The contractor shall create engaging, creative, and interactive curricula that teach children 8-12 about advertising. B) Developing engaging, inviting and appropriate materials to deliver content to young people: The contractor shall develop engaging, creative, and useful materials to support the campaign messages about recognizing and decoding advertising. These materials might include print, audio, video, and other multimedia materials. C) Success in marketing information to young people: The contractor shall develop and carry out a plan to market the campaign's resources to the target audience (including children aged 8-12, parents, and educators). A challenge of the campaign will be to cut through the clutter that children hear and see in the media everyday, developing messages that resonate with them, and finding ways to deliver the message in ways they will see, use, and learn from it. Using the same channels that advertisers and marketers use to communicate with kids may be more likely to be successful in reaching and resonating with the target audience, so the contractor shall consider those in developing and carrying out a marketing plan. Required Documentation: To be considered for this project, the contractor shall submit 5 copies of the following documentation (Submission documents should use at least 12-point font.): 1) Narrative: A brief description covering the following areas [not to exceed 6 pages]: a) The contractor's approach to developing an interactive website designed to engage the target age group (young people, parents, educators). b) The contractor's approach to creating engaging curricula for students aged 8-12, as well as for developing print and multimedia materials to support the campaign. c) The contractor's approach to developing engaging print and multimedia materials to support the campaign. d) The contractor's approach to marketing the campaign and its resources to the target audience(s). e) The contractor's approach to securing the expertise required to carry out these areas of interest.**NOTE: A very detailed project plan is not required at this point.** 2. Staffing Plan: A detailed staffing plan that includes the contractor's team to be assigned, the specific role each member of the team would serve on this project, and a copy of each person's resume and a summary of other relevant experience. Any sub-contractors to be hired should be identified in the Staffing Plan. 3. Price Estimate: For the purposes of price-comparison, the contractor shall provide an estimate for the four program elements: Developing an interactive website to engage the target audience(s); Creating engaging curricula for students aged 8-12; Creating engaging print and multimedia materials to support the campaign; and Marketing the campaign and its resources to the target audience(s). 4. Project Samples: Provide hard-copy (electronically scanned and included in the email quote submittal) samples of three similar projects (completed or ongoing), in which substantial work was carried out by contractor staff presented in the staffing plan. Samples should include the client organization, a description of the work, major accomplishments or outcomes, approximate dollar value, contract number (if applicable), and point of contact for reference. One of these samples must demonstrate the contractor's ability to develop and implement a campaign targeted to children. Evaluation Criteria: The Government will award a contract on a best-value basis, where narrative, staffing plan, and project samples/past performance are weighted higher than cost. Project Management & Deliverables: The initiatives developed by the contractor must clearly articulate the agreed-upon message to the intended audience(s) in an effective and cost-efficient manner. The information must be accessible, practical, and actionable, and convey contact information for contacting or filing a complaint with the FTC. The contractor will manage the development and implementation of the various projects and is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and quality of all products. During performance of the contract, the contractor will provide pricing estimates based on Work Assignments for specific deliverables. The contractor will itemize the time, cost, and other factors required to complete each work assignment. The FTC's Division of Consumer and Business Education will serve as the agency contact. The FTC might invite up to the top three respondents to give a brief presentation about their capabilities, their proposed plan for developing an interactive website targeting children aged 8-12, their plan to develop curriculum for the target audience, their plan to create print and other supporting materials, and a marketing plan to reach the target audience(s). This presentation will be factored in determining who will be awarded the contract; all contractors should be available to travel to the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC during September, 2008. Period of Performance: The Period of Performance for this contract is for a one-year base period with three one-year optional periods. Contract Amount: The budgeted amount is $2.0 million per year for the base year and each option year, depending upon funding availability. Release of Information: No FTC data shall be divulged to any unauthorized person for any purpose. The contractor shall clear with the Contracting Officer any public release of information on this contract/order, to include news stories, articles, sales literature, advertisements, radio-tv spots, etc. Any request for public release of information should be addressed to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of Public Affairs, News Director, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20580. The provision at 52.212-1, Instructions to Offerors-Commercial, applies to this acquisition. Additional information has been provided above. The provision at 52.212-2, Evaluation-Commercial Items, applies, as modified in the above information. Offerors are advised to include a completed copy of the provision at 52.212-3, Offeror Representations and Certifications-Commercial Items, with its offer. The clause at 52.212-4, Alt 1, Contract Terms and Conditions-Commercial Items, applies to this acquisition. Additional information: Payment: Original invoices are to be submitted to the billing office identified below. For purposes of this contract/order the designated payment office is: Regular Mail: FTC Payment Unit, c/o National Business Center, PO Box 272040, Denver, CO 80227-2040. Express Mail: DOI - National Business Center - FTC, 7301 W. Mansfield Ave, Accounting Operations Branch, D-2730, Denver, CO 80235-2230. E-mail: FTCPayment_NBCDENVER@NBC.GOV (do not include banking information as the e-mail address is not a secure site). NOTE: A duplicate invoice shall be provided to the COTR and the Contracting Officer as listed on the award documents. Mail to Washington D.C. is still being processed through special irradiation processes thereby delaying delivery times. It is advised that documents sent to FTC personnel in Washington D.C. be submitted either electronically via email or by use of a delivery service (ex: FedEx, UPS, DHL, Courier, etc.). Invoice Requirements: All Invoices must include the following information: Name and address of contractor, Invoice Date, FTC Contract/Order Number, Line Item(s) being invoiced [When applicable, Name, title, hourly rate and hours charged to each labor category for each contractor staff for the current month for the applicable sub-part.], Any corrections to previous month=s charges for an applicable sub-part will be reported separately and clearly with a narrative, Any information or documentation required by provision of the contract/order. NOTE: Contractor payment/financial information is obtained through the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Database. It is the contractor's responsibility to ensure that the CCR contains accurate payment information. Invoices paid late because of inaccurate CCR information are not subject to interest payments under the Prompt Payment Act. The clause at 52.212-5, Contract Terms and Conditions Required To Implement Statutes or Executive Orders-Commercial Items, applies to this acquisition, and the following additional FAR clauses cited in paragraph (b) of the clause are applicable to this acquisition: (18), (19), (20), (21), (22), (23), (24)(i), and (36). Evaluation Criteria: The Government will award a contract resulting from this solicitation to the responsible offeror whose offer conforming to the solicitation is considered to be the best value to the Government, price and other factors considered. The following factors shall be used to evaluate offers, and are weighted higher than cost: Criteria 1 - Narrative: The extent to which the offeror understands the requirements as reflected in the Statement of Work and demonstrates a sound and comprehensive approach for achieving the areas of interest described in this effort. Criteria 2 - Staffing Plan: The extent to which the offeror addresses personnel qualifications, including related experience and training as it relates to developing and marketing an interactive campaign directed at young people. Discuss the availability of any key and support personnel that may be required to perform under this effort, whether from the offeror's firm or available through a partnering or sub-contracting arrangement. Criteria 3 - Project Samples/Past Performance: The extent to which the offeror's proposal demonstrates corporate experience on contracts performed within the past five (5) years, similar in size and scope to the effort described in this combined synopsis/solicitation, in the area of creating and marketing an interactive campaign - particularly targeting children. Proposed CLIN Structure for each year: 0001. Delivery and acceptance of a detailed project plan, 0002. Delivery and acceptance of an interactive website to engage and teach kids aged 8-12 about advertising, 0003. Delivery and acceptance of curricula to teach children aged 8-12 about advertising, 0004. Delivery and acceptance of materials to engage and deliver content about advertising to children aged 8-12, 0005. Delivery and acceptance of a plan to market the campaign and its resources to children aged 8-12, 0006. Acceptable implementation of the plan to market the campaign and its resources to children aged 8-12. Responses are due to this combined synopsis solicitation by 4:00 PM EDT, 2 September, 2008. Email responses to this solicitation are preferable and should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding this solicitation shall be sent to the Contracting Officer at the above email address no later than 4:00 PM EDT on 11 August, 2008; no oral questions will be entertained. The Contracting Officer can be reached for other issues at (202) 326-3026.