Kane County earmarks funds for commercials, doesn't commit to controversial Florida company
Kane County officials voted this week to earmark $27,000 to produce a series of videos promoting the county but stopped short of agreeing to give that money to a Florida-based production company after ongoing questions about what the firm would deliver.
The project spawned from a pitch by Information Matrix to produce three videos at a total cost of $27,000. One video would be distributed to public television stations. Another would go to cable networks. A third would be sent to companies that might like to do business in Kane County.
Information Matrix's marketing materials suggested millions of viewers across the country would see the videos. But further questioning showed it made no guarantees about the videos airing anywhere in particular.
Jeff Klingberg, president of the Hampshire-based Mountain Stream Group, told the county board his own experience as a marketing communications consultant tells him officials should steer clear of Information Matrix's pitch.
"When I read about this, it sounded familiar to me, not in a good way," Klingberg told the board. "I have seen other businesses and organizations fall for this scheme. These companies are always located in Florida. The results are heartbreakingly similar. Initial deposits of $27,000 often lead to additional expenses. Nothing ever gets delivered. No commercials ever run. Telephone calls don't ever get returned, and nobody ever gets their money back."
In response to the questions about its deliverables, Information Matrix's has offered to produce the videos for the county at no cost. They've also promised to share confirmable airing reports from any networks that broadcast the videos.
County board Chairman Chris Lauzen has suggested if the company does what's promised, the county should pay it up to $27,000. In setting aside that amount this week, county board members didn't rule out paying Information Matrix but didn't commit to any working relationship. And, they made sure the board maintains control over the $27,000, not Lauzen.
The county board's development committee will review Information Matrix's proposal and other options to produce the promotional videos. The full county board will have the final say on spending any of the $27,000.
If no money is spent, it will revert into the pool of money the county receives as its cut of gambling revenue at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. The county uses that money for some internal expenses and external grants to local governments and nonprofit agencies.