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4 Finalists in Youth Media Chase

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Four finalists have emerged in the review for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's $125 million Youth Media Campaign.

Sources confirmed that Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, DDB in Seattle, Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco are the finalists in the competition, which attracted the attention of more than 200 agencies after a request for proposal was issued in February.

"We got the funding for this year released and we're building the program," said Michael Greenwell, CDC's associate director of communications.

A decision is expected next month.

Last week, officials of the CDC's Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion heard presentations from the four finalists, which are partnered with public relations and minority resources.

Congress has appropriated $125 million to underwrite a one-year program aimed at developing healthy habits in "tweens," youth between the ages of nine and 13.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta put a unique spin on the project. Unlike anti-tobacco, safe sex or anti-drug initiatives, the emphasis will be on encouraging healthful behavior in a population that, according to research, is increasingly inactive and overweight.

"We need ideas on how to reach this audience," Greenwell said. "And messages encouraging young people to be involved in positive activities like exercise that will displace opportunities for things that are unhealthy like smoking and physical inactivity."

In the review, sources confirmed that TBWA\C\D teamed up with Fleishman-Hillard, Campbell with Weber Public Relations, Saatchi with Frankel & Co. and DDB with Porter Novelli.

As originally conceived, the two-pronged, multi-year campaign involved a general market effort and a separate program targeting minority youth.

The Bush administration eliminated the Youth Media Campaign's second-year funding [Adweek, May 21] in its fiscal 2002 budget, but Congress may opt to restore the cut later this year, according Greenwell.

Last year, CDC, the largest federal agency outside the nation's capital, used roster shops Porter Novelli in Washington, D.C., and Chicago's Aeffort in the preliminary stages of the outreach.