Branding all those Alaska goods?

The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) is spending $700,000 to create a new “brand” for Alaska. They have awarded a contract to Anchorage-based MSI to conduct a marketing plan to, according to DCCED, “grow Alaska’s presence in the global marketplace and to create more opportunity for Alaskan businesses and investors.”

The state’s selected contractor, MSI, has strong political ties and worked for the Super PAC that supported U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s winning write-in campaign against Joe Miller in 2010. It was the first race in the country to take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling that allowed such Super PACS to spend unlimited amounts of money on a campaign, in this case more than $1.8 million. MSI also represented the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition which pushed for lower state taxes on the oil industry.

The state’s branding and marketing plan will focus on developing the state’s smaller marketing programs like minerals, forest products, agriculture, film, and other Alaska made goods, goods of which—aside from minerals- Alaska produces very little.

“This initiative will result in new high quality promotional materials, and promote Alaska’s brand through a public relations campaign in national and international markets,” DCCED said in its call for proposals.

Washington, D.C. based public opinion research firm William Cromer and Associates, which is a subcontractor for MSI, has been emailing business leaders to try to corral them to participate in a focus group to discuss the development of a new branding program for Alaska’s economic future.

Cromer and Associates is best known in the state for their work with former Gov. Bill Sheffield’s campaign (1982 and 1986) and were the guys that got it wrong for the cruise ship industry on the head tax initiative campaign.

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