Kirshenbaum, Asher Team for Tobacco Task

Asher & Partners will pair up with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Western Initiative Media to bid on the $150-225 million national anti-tobacco public education contract. Kirshenbaum declined comment.
Asher and Kirshenbaum had both been looking for partners in order to reach the mandated $500 million or more in billings required to pitch the account of what is now called the American Legacy Foundation–Promoting Tobacco Free Generations.
Asher, now defending its California tobacco control assignment, and Kirshenbaum are also in talks with Carol H. Williams Advertising, an African American shop in Oakland, Calif.; Imada Wong Communications Group, an Asian American agency in Los Angeles; and Ad Americas, an Hispanic specialist in Los Angeles.
“We’ve got the size, the smarts and the sizzle,” Asher chief creative officer Bruce Dundore said of his team.
Asher was one of 42 agencies to appear at a bidders conference last week in Washington, D.C., to discuss the project. Others included Deutsch and Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, both New York; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos,Boston; and The Richards Group, Dallas.
Chuck Wolfe, executive vp of the ALF, said agencies with billings of $200 million could still participate by partnering with media, ethnic or other shops to raise their combined billings to $500 million or more.
“I agonized over how to be as inclusive as possible, while still maintaining an agency that could handle this level of funding,” said Wolfe.