MANCHESTER — The head of a Manchester marketing firm said Thursday that the town manager fumbled a chance to support local businesses by engaging a New York firm to produce videos for the municipal website.
Kyle Reyes, president and creative director of The Silent Partner Marketing, said several business owners contacted him recently « infuriated that a company that wasn’t even from Connecticut had been contracted by the town. »
General Manager Scott Shanley responded that the National League of Cities, of which Manchester is a member, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors recommended Rochester-based CGI Communications Inc., and more importantly, the service is free to Manchester taxpayers.
As part of the revamping of the municipal website (townofmanchester.org), the town has joined about 3,000 communities across the country participating in CGI’s Community Showcase program (cgicompany.com). The company handles all aspects of video production, spotlighting a community’s parks, historic landmarks, events and other local highlights in five short videos.
« The town will integrate these videos with the coming launch of our redone website, » Shanley said. « Visitors to Manchester’s website will have the ability to view much of what the community offers visitors or potential residents and businesses. »
While working for the town, CGI also seeks to sell video services to local business owners in the form of sponsorships of the town’s video showcase, CGI spokeswoman Nicole Rongo said. The town receives the free service regardless of whether business sponsorships are sold, Rongo said.
But Reyes said that if the town manager had approached him to provide the same service for free, he would have done it. The town’s partnership with CGI, he said, is counter to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s longstanding « Buy Local » campaign.
« The town and the chamber are two separate entities, and while we encourage strongly that the town participate with the chamber’s ‘Get It Here’ campaign, we understand that they must do what is best for the taxpayers and what is most cost-effective, » chamber President April DiFalco said. « We have some amazing chamber members who can do everything CGI can do, if not better, all while supporting their community. »
Reyes said CGI has been offering video services to local businesses for $5,495, or $4,995 if paid in full. But Rongo said those prices are at the upper range; the company offers packages that start as low as $950.
For the services CGI was offering to local business owners, Reyes said his firm normally would charge $2,000 to $3,000. But Silent Partner will offer the same services for $1,750, he said.
Also, Reyes said, for every local business video package sold, Silent Partner will donate $250 to the Manchester Area Conference of Churches Charities, which runs a local soup kitchen, food pantry and shelter.
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