A year of preparation helped MZD Advertising secure Indiana's $7 million anti-tobacco account.
The Indianapolis shop "scored highest on the evaluation" in a review that also involved cross-town shop Young & Laramore and Asher Agency in Fort Wayne, Ind., said Shelly Harris of the Indiana Department of Administration, which oversaw the review.
MZD started preparing for the review a year ago when the state learned that funds for an anti-smoking effort would be made available for advertising.
"We had focus groups and invested extensive amounts of time," said Harry Davis, chief operating officer and president of the agency. "We were able to bring a lot to the table based on our research."
The review began in May with the state seeking an agency that could implement a statewide anti-tobacco campaign aimed at both adults and children. Presentations were made before Harris, the state Tobacco Board and outside experts.
MZD will assign about 15 people to the account, Davis said. The shop's first work will be aimed at teenagers. "We are also looking at other states' [anti-tobacco campaigns] to find what is really effective," Davis said.
MZD has had numerous contracts with various state agencies, most recently two years ago when it was selected to handle a campaign for Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services.
Nine agencies originally were vying for the anti-smoking contract, including BBDO Minneapolis; LAO Advertising, Cincinnati; MSI Advertising, Richmond, Va.; and Indianapolis shops GCI Group, Publicis and Shank.
Indiana's anti-tobacco effort, as in other states, is a result of court settlements between the tobacco companies and the attorney general's office.