Comptroller Stringer And Boro President Adams Urge Better City Advertising Distribution

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Stringer and Adams

[Open Letter To Carlos Menchaca]

January 27, 2016

Hon. Carlos Menchaca


Committee on Immigration

New York City Council

Re: City Advertising Contracts and Ethnic Media

Dear Chairman Menchaca,We are writing today with a new analysis that we hope will contribute to your oversight hearing on how the City can better leverage the scores of community-based, ethnic media outlets to ensure that all neighborhoods receive information on municipal job openings, legal notices, and other government business.Working with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, the Comptroller’s Office examined usage reports that were submitted to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) by Creative Media Agency, Graystone Group, and Miller Advertising, which outline where City advertisements were placed during Fiscal Years 2013-2015.While the data received from DCAS was not inclusive of all spending on City advertising, it did provide sufficient information to discern general trends.The analysis found that from Fiscal Years (FY) 2013-2015:•The City of New York spent over $20 million with Miller Advertising, the GraystoneGroup, and the Creative Media Agency, placing advertisements with 954 publications forrecruitment (job listings) and non-recruitment needs (legal notices, public campaigns, andother communications);

•Within the 954 publications, 37 of these publications were designated by DCAS as“ethnic publications,” which received on average 13 percent of spending per year;•Of the top 40 publications that were awarded promotional dollars, nine were ethnicpublications; and

•In FY 2015, the City spent 21.9 percent of non-recruitment advertising dollars on ethnicpublications, but only spent 5.8 percent of recruitment dollars with ethnic publications.The attached appendix includes additional information about City advertising spending.Given these trends, we believe that the City should explore whether a more strategic distribution of its limited advertising resources can enhance public awareness of government business for all New Yorkers and ensure that the City workforce truly represents the best and brightest from all our communities.As a result, we urge the City to consider the following:•Review the performance of all existing contracts, with an eye toward ensuring that the City’s advertising dollars are being effectively deployed in a manner that reaches all communities.•Establish a clear definition of what constitutes an ethnic publication, as there are many publications that could be considered within this definition but are not labeled as such by DCAS.•Consider adding new vendors that have experience targeting specific communities.•Ensure that advertising agencies spend dollars efficiently by requiring them to evaluate objective, concrete measures of readership, including circulation and website traffic.In a City as diverse as New York, where 1.8 million residents are Limited English Proficient, it is imperative that our government take proactive steps to inform residents of the business of government.We look forward to working with you on this issue in the months to come.


By Scott L. Stringer and Eric L. Adams

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