Arnold-Crispin Team Triumphs

Anti-Smoking Pitch Centers On Creating a Brand Called ‘Truth’
BOSTON–Chemistry, experience and a fervent passion for the cause led the American Legacy Foundation last week to award its $150-225 million account to the team led by Arnold Communications and Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
Falling short were Messner Vetere Berger MacNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG with SFM Media, both New York; and The Richards Group in Dallas, which pitched with Western Initiative Media in Los Angeles.
Executives at Boston-based Arnold view the challenge as nothing short of creating an anti-smoking movement that will result in the first generation of tobacco-free children.
“They have a great deal of experience in building a coalition, an enormous amount of enthusiasm and a strong personal commitment to the topic,” said review committee member David Milenthal, chairman of HMS Partners in Columbus, Ohio, and an outspoken critic of Big Tobacco.
The winning presentation, led by Arnold executive vice president Lisa Unsworth, was built around the word “Truth” and rendered as though it were a brand, like Camel or Marlboro.
“‘Truth’ is a brand name that had a tremendous success as a brand in Florida, and Arnold had success with it” in Massachusetts,” said Alex Bogusky, creative director at Crispin in Miami. “It’s a word the tobacco industry fears. We’re going to be working like hell to make sure we have the best brand and the best campaign.”
Both shops’ prior experience in anti-smoking efforts had made the Arnold-Crispin team an early favorite [Adweek, June 21]. Indeed, Crispin’s prior relationship with foundation executive vice president Chuck Wolfe on anti-smoking efforts in Florida had some shops grumbling that the team had an unfair advantage. The team’s winning strategy is similar to the one Crispin employed in Florida.
The foundation will sign a contract with Arnold and treat its alliance members–which include Crispin; Bromley, Aguilar & Associates in San Antonio, Texas; Burrell Communications Group in Chicago; in Boston; and Nixon Group in Miami– as subcontractors.
No decision has been made on when the first creative work will be due or how much of the money will be spent targeting minority populations, said Wolfe. Agency executives said they believe they will have the first work ready by early next year.
Agencies will be compensated based on how much they change tobacco awareness, attitudes and behavior. A National Youth Tobacco Survey due this fall from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will serve as a baseline for measuring success.
Advertising will be just one part of the upcoming campaign. “You’ll find there is more to our program,” said Arnold chairman Ed Eskandarian. Public relations, youth summits and the Internet will also play an important role. The account will be managed by Unsworth.
Bogusky noted the team will look to promote the “Truth” in movies. “[A movie] really normalizes tobacco in kids’ lives. It’s better than any advertisement to have Leonardo DiCaprio smoke,” he said.
The last time Arnold captured national headlines was in 1995 when it won Volkswagen of America’s estimated $100 million account, then the largest account awarded to a New England agency. While this win has some of the same implications (high-profile work in a category noted for creativity and the potential to create dozens of new jobs), Eskandarian said it “felt” very different because of the loftier opportunity to change behavior. Bogusky echoed that sentiment.
“As much as I love advertising, this is the thing that becomes a calling,” he said. “I can sell hamburgers all day, I love doing it, but you never think you’re doing it for your life’s purpose.