Four shops await a decision in a review of creative duties for the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, sources said.
The new assignment is projected to last five years with annual media spending estimated at $35 million.
Sources identified the finalists as Havas' Arnold, independent Northlich, Interpublic Group's Gotham and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. Northlich is in Albany, N.Y., and the rest are pitching from their offices here.
The shops emerged from a pack of more than 20 agencies that expressed interest in the account, according to a source.
Final presentations took place last month at the client's offices in Albany.
Each agency got approximately 90 minutes to present to about a half-dozen client executives.
A decision is expected in early September. The agencies either declined to comment or did not return calls. Executives at the Tobacco Control Program had no immediate comment.
Established in 2000, the program seeks to persuade adult smokers to quit and prevent young people from starting to smoke. One means for accomplishing those goals, according to the state DOH Web site, is to produce "hard-hitting, emotionally evocative media campaigns."
Nielsen Business Media