Arnold Communications is in pursuit of a contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA is seeking a shop to handle marketing initiatives through 2003, said John Speer, senior contract specialist for the FDA in Rockville, Md. Billings are estimated at $20-30 million.
Some 15 of the 60 or so agencies that asked for a request for proposal have already indicated that they will not return the questionnaire, in some cases due to the heavy competition, said Speer. He confirmed that Boston-based Arnold was among the agencies that asked for the correspondence. The 124-page questionnaire was released May 4 and is due back by June 15, according to Speer.
Submitted materials will be checked for completeness and content. A four-member advisory panel will grade them on a numerical scale and the top scorers will be invited to make creative presentations, Speer said.
The winning agency's first task will be to develop the next phase of the Tobacco Compliance Outreach Program, which targets retailers. Both the pilot program and national rollout of that effort were handled by Houston Herstek Favat, which Arnold bought last year.
Developed by Arnold executive vice president and group creative directors Rich Herstek and Pete Favat while at Houston, the campaign includes print and radio ads, billboards and in-store display materials.
The effort sought to remind retailers of a federal law that prohibits the sale of cigarettes and chewing tobacco to minors and requires retailers to check photo identification of anyone under 27 years of age. Some $7 million was spent on media in each state that signed a contract with the FDA to enforce the year-old law.
Arnold's expertise in the tobacco control movement stems from the Houston executives who have worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Tobacco Control Program for the past five years.