Calif. Health to Review

LOS ANGELES-The California Department of Health Services’ Tobacco Control Section is preparing to release two separate requests for proposals for its statewide advertising and public relations accounts.
Los Angeles shops Asher & Partners and Rogers & Associates currently handle ad and PR duties, respectively. Both agencies’ three-year contracts are up, leading to the mandatory review, according to Colleen Stevens, chief of tobacco media campaigns for the Sacramento-based client.
Asher partner and general manager Darryl Asher said his agency will aggressively defend the business. “We’re confident we’ll win it again,” he said.
Rogers is also expected to defend its PR account.
Agencies outside the state are invited to participate, but must have an office in California, Stevens said. A decision is expected by the fall.
After spending an estimated $75 million on advertising and PR during the past three years, the department plans to cut back to approximately $44 million on advertising and $8 million on PR in the next three. Stevens said a “downturn in revenues” from cigarette sales in California is the reason for the lower budgets.
Asher has handled the business since 1994, and prevailed in another mandatory review in 1996. Its work for the client has won numerous awards, including honors at Cannes and the Belding Awards.