Chicago team pitches wage tax credit incentive to Madison Avenue producers

A whirlwind two-and-a-half day visit to New York ad agencies to promote commercial production in Chicago was “an unqualified success,” said AICP Midwest president Mark Egmon.

The Story Companies’ Mark Androw, national AICP chairman, the Illinois Film Office’s diversity officer Joyce Davis and Egmon made the trip last week. It was motivated by the local AICP’s feeling that getting the word about the wage tax incentive to commercial producers would help encourage new business, Egmon said.

During their brief stint, they made face-to-face presentations to production executives at Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, the Wunderman Agency and Kirschenbaum & Bond. “They were all incredibly enthusiastic,” Egmon reported.

The New Yorkers said that they were aware of attractive incentives offered by states like New Mexico and Louisiana, and were glad to hear that Illinois now offers one, too. “An incentive like the wage tax credit, they felt, had overall benefits for U.S. production,” noted Egmon.

Since the Canadian dollar has devalued by 6% so far this year, and one U.S. dollar buys C$1.3827, commercial producers are again looking at U.S. states like Illinois, with an established infrastructure, as cost- efficient location sites.

Using the credit application itself and a well-honed bullet point-presentation, the Chicagoans pointed out “how the $50,000 wage tax credit applies to everyone who works on a production, including the talent, up to a year. We also talked about our diversity efforts and the producers were also responsive to that,” said Egmon.

The IFO arranged for the New York meetings in advance. Young & Rubicam and BBDO producers, who were unable to meet personally, took the information and said they would disseminate it.

The last time local production executives visited New York agencies was about six years ago.