Big Tobacco's expected $14 billion-plus settlement with Texas could pave the way for the largest anti-smoking advertising and educational effort by a state to date.
Before Texas Attorney General Dan Morales prepared to outline details of the settlement late Friday, the State of Florida identified finalists for its $70 million anti-tobacco marketing campaign--paid for by that state's $11.3 billion settlement with cigarette companies.
Like Florida, Texas will likely put more than $200 million aside for marketing, education and enforcement efforts, sources close to the process said. Specifics of the settlement, however, were still being discussed at press time. Representatives at Morales' office did not return calls.
Thirty-six more states are in negotiations with tobacco companies, which are paying out huge sums of money in return for concessions, including limited immunity from some lawsuits. If cases continue to be settled on a state-by-state basis, billions of advertising dollars will soon begin to be spent on anti-smoking campaigns nationwide.
Florida is out in front, having already selected four finalists for its 18-month anti-smoking campaign targeting youth. They are: Crispin Porter & Bogusky and Beber Silverstein & Partners, both in Miami; Paradigm Communications of Tampa, Fla.; and The William Cook Agency in Jacksonville, Fla. BS&P has partnered with Arnold Communications in Boston, and Paradigm has teamed with Asher & Partners of Los Angeles. Both out-of-state agencies have garnered praise for their anti-smoking social marketing work.
Florida officials expect to name a winner early next month.
Like Florida, Texas' aim in its advertising efforts will be to reduce tobacco use among teens. If its approach to selecting an agency is similar to Florida's, shops interested in pursuing the business will be required to have a Texas office.