Richards Disappointed

Chemistry, experience and a passion for the cause led the American Legacy Foundation to award its $150-225 million account last week to Arnold Communications and Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
The other contenders were Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet-terer/Euro RSCG with SFM Media, both in New York; and The Richards Group and Western Initiative Media in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively.
The winning presentation was built around the word “Truth,” employed in the same way as a brand name. “It’s a word the tobacco industry fears,” said Alex Bogusky, creative director and partner at Miami-based Crispin and a co-leader of the the creative pitch.
Both shops’ prior anti-smoking experience had made the team an early favorite. In fact, Crispin’s prior relationship with foundation executive vice president Chuck Wolfe on anti-smoking efforts in Florida had some agencies grumbling that the team had an unfair advantage. The team’s winning strategy is similar to the one Crispin employed in Florida.
Arnold will treat its alliance members–which include Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, San Antonio; Burrell Communications Group, Chicago; Circle.com, Boston; and Nixon Group, Miami–as subcontractors.
No decision has been made on when new creative will appear or how much money will be allocated to targeting minority populations.
Dick Murray, the principal who led Richards’ pitch team, expressed disappointment over the decision. A plan to restage Richards’ presentation for the rest of the agency was on hold while he assessed team members’ feelings. “I don’t think many folks have the stomach for it; people are a little bummed out right now,” he said.
Regarding the Arnold-Crispin win, Murray said, “It sounded like their experience carried the day. We got some information [on why the Richards pitch was unsuccessful], but not a great deal.”
Wolfe said he would meet with Murray at a later date to review the decision in detail.
–with T.W. Sieber