As Texas reached a $15.3 billion settlement with the major tobacco companies-- earmarking funds for what could be the largest anti-smoking marketing initiative to date--officials with the State of Florida identified the trio of finalists for its $70 million anti-tobacco advertising account--also paid for via legal settlement.
Texas has set aside a $200 million war chest for advertising, marketing, education and enforcement efforts as part of the settlement that was agreed upon earlier this month.
Thirty-six more states are in negotiations with cigarette companies, which have paid out millions of dollars in return for some concessions, including limited immunity from lawsuits.
Observers said that if the current trend continues, state by state, billions of advertising dollars will be spent on anti-smoking campaigns across the nation.
State of Florida officials have already selected three finalists for an 18-month campaign targeting youth. Those shops that will be making their case are: Crispin Porter & Bogusky and Beber Silverstein & Partners, both of Miami, and Paradigm Communications, headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
BS&P has partnered with Boston's Arnold Communications, while Paradigm has pooled its resources with Asher & Partners of Los Angeles. Both out-of-state agencies have garnered praise for their anti-smoking social marketing work.
Florida officials visited contending agencies last week. At that time, they eliminated The William Cook Agency of Jacksonville, Fla., which was ranked in fourth place.
Final agency presentations will be held on Feb. 4, and a decision is expected that week.
The Texas advertising effort is expected to target teens. While overall use of tobacco has decreased, teen cigarette smoking--especially among girls--has risen, according to the federal government.
--with Steve Krajewski