American Legacy Cuts Super Bowl Ad Deal

The American Legacy Foundation late Wednesday completed negotiations with CBS to place new advertising on the Super Bowl, said sources close to the situation.

American Legacy will not air the well-known “Truth” campaign that seeks to dissuade young people from smoking. Rather, the client intends to unveil a “corporate” campaign designed to educate Americans about the Foundation’s various programs and its research and educational activities, sources said. William Furmanski, a spokesman for American Legacy in Washington, D.C. could not be reached by press time; a representative with Arnold Worldwide, Boston, which handles the American Legacy account, declined comment.

An official statement from the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation was expected to be released late Wednesday night or early Thursday.

Negotiations between the client and CBS had taken somewhat longer than expected because the network was especially concerned with ad content, as past efforts in the client’s “Truth” campaign, some featuring body bag imagery, generated considerable controversy, sources said. CBS apparently required assurances that the client’s “corporate” spots are appropriate for the mass Super Bowl audience, and would not “offend” network advertisers that also sell tobacco-related products, sources said. A CBS spokesman said he had no information about American Legacy running advertising on the Super Bowl telecast.

Arnold also has commercials for two other major clients, and Volkswagen of America, airing on the Jan. 28 Super Bowl XXXV telecast.

American Legacy was formed in Nov. 1998 following the Master Settlement Agreement between 46 state attorneys general and the major tobacco companies. Funded through that settlement, the nonprofit group is dedicated to reducing tobacco usage and promoting “smoke-free generations.” Boston-based Arnold, teaming with Crispin Porter & Bogusky of Miami, added the client’s $150-225 million advertising assignment in September 1999 following a review.