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Santa Monica City Council Approves Up to $735,000 Contract to Promote Sustainability Campaigns


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

December 1, 2017 -- GOOD Worldwide Inc., the marketing firm hired last year to help Santa Monica create good public will for the arrival of Expo, has won a City contract totaling as much as $735,000 to promote an array of green goals.

Approved unanimously by the City Council Tuesday, the GOOD Worldwide contract was recommended over a dozen other bidders based on the firms previous experience with the City, and its breadth of services, officials said.

The firm will help the City promote such goals as water self-sufficiency by 2020, zero waste by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner, staff said in its report to the Council.

This time, the City is opting to roll all its outside marketing work on sustainability issues into a single contract, instead of hiring a variety of firms for individual projects, said Dean Kubani, head of the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.

The contract is within the office’s marketing/communications yearly budget of about $245,000 a year for outside help, he told the council.

The new strategy is “much easier and more efficient for us,” Kubani said, adding tthat it will be a blanket arrangement to be “used as needed.”

As with its $500,000 Expo-related contract last year, the new arrangement with GOOD Worldwide drew criticism for spending on outside marketing despite an increase in the size and budget for the City’s own communications office.

“Why can't the existing staff promote programs and policies that you have already approved?” neighborhood activist Tricia Crane wrote in an email to the council.

Kubani said his office and City communications employees will continue to do outreach in the community, but will rely on GOOD for social media and other platforms, such as ads on buses and digital production and communications.

GOOD Worldwide Inc. will “develop and implement an engaging community-based campaign that would direct residents, businesses, visitors, and students towards measurable actions that help the Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) in achieving the City’s overall sustainability goals,” the staff report to the council said.

“The activities covered in this approach to comprehensive public outreach and engagement include developing, producing, implementing and reporting on digital and grassroots community engagement efforts,” it said.

The contract starts with one year, with an option for two following years not to exceed, in total, $735,000.

GOOD also won a $350,000 three-year contract in March for marketing outreach regarding the City’s homeless problem and other issues.

Its Expo contract, while focused on the festivities greeting Expo, also included promoting alternative transportation -- a key selling point as the City tries to convince residents and visitors to wean themselves from cars.

In the new contract, GOOD beat out bids from Allegra Consulting, California Marketing Concepts, Dash Two, ETA Agency, Green Media Creations, Hershey Cause Communications, Message, Nemoi Advertising and Design, Pollack PR Marketing Group, Salter Mitchell, S. Groner Associates and Verdin Marketing.

The City declined to release details of the competing bids, such as the total amounts sought for the City’s sustainability work.

Constance Farrell, from the Office of Communications, said it is the City’s policy not to release such information before the council votes on a proposed contract, and such details would first need to be redacted by City lawyers to protect possibly “proprietary” information in them.

She said the other bids varied in ways which made them hard to compare on a financial or other basis. Some just submitted their hourly rate, she said.

It is also difficult to compare because no individual projects were specified for the bidders, Farrell said.

“It is not an apples-to-apples comparison,” she said.

GOOD Worldwide Inc., founded in 2006 in Los Angeles with offices in New York and Seattle, markets itself as “social impact” company.

“Our collective mission is to help people and organizations be forces for good,” its website says.

GOOD Worldwide “connect(s) deeply and authentically with this generation's desire for purpose," the site says.


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