4 Shops Qualify for Anti-Smoking Account

LOS ANGELES The California Department of Health Services’ Tobacco Control Section this week moved a step closer to selecting an agency to handle its $45 million anti-smoking account, a department representative said.

Based on early April agency visits, as well as a number of conflict-based withdrawals, the DHS has narrowed the field to four shops, the rep said. Remaining contenders are independents RPA, Santa Monica, Calif.; Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco; Ground Zero, the Marina del Rey, Calif., incumbent; and MDC Partners’ VitroRobertson, San Diego [Adweek Online, Feb. 18, 2005].

For the past four years, Ground Zero has crafted the department’s anti-smoking work, including a controversial 2001 campaign featuring fictional tobacco exec “Ken Lane.” Last year, the agency created a 30-second spot in which cigarettes puffed out rainbow-tinted soap bubbles instead of smoke.

According to the client, the four shops submitted written project proposals earlier this week. Oral presentations will be held in June, the rep said, with a selection expected soon afterward.

The department’s $45 million, 36-month advertising contract is set to begin July 1.