Anti-Tobacco Review Down to 4

Western Initiative in Partnerships With 2 of the Semifinalists
BOSTON–The American Legacy Foundation will consider four contenders for the $150-225 million anti-tobacco program.
Arnold Communications, Boston; The Richards Group of Dallas; and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, both in New York, are the lead agencies that advanced. Each entrant has several subcontractors assisting in the pitch.
“These four each had the potential to be a good fit,” said Chuck Wolfe, executive vice president of The Legacy Foundation in Washington, D.C. Wolfe declined to elaborate.
The Arnold team may have the advantage of familiarity with the client’s methods. Its pitch partner, Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, emerged victorious in the 1998 Florida anti-smoking competition run by Wolfe, and he appears to be running this review along similar lines.
Arnold executives held a tele-conference Friday afternoon with its partners to plot strategy, sources said. Arnold has handled Massachusetts’ anti-smoking ad efforts for years.
“I feel like the team has a lot of experience and success” behind it, said principal Alex Bogusky of his team’s strengths. Arnold did not return calls.
Dick Murray, principal at Richards, saw his shop as the underdog. “We are competing against all of the experts in the field. By that I mean Arnold, Crispin Porter and Asher,” he said.
“It’s the most competitive pitch of the year–that is for sure. There are some serious people in there,” said Jon Bond, chief executive of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. His agency’s team includes Asher & Partners, Los Angeles. Asher is also defending its $44 million California tobacco control ad account, which is in a mandated review. Asher successfully defended the business in 1996.
Western Initiative Media is assisting both Richards and KB&P.
MVBMS did not return calls.
During the week of Aug. 16, review committee members will visit each lead agency for chemistry checks. A cut to two or three finalists will follow. The Legacy Foundation will make a decision in late September.
The shops which responded to the questionnaire but did not advance were: GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG and Deutsch, both New York; The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; and Crowell & Associates/Clear Channel Social Marketing & Advertising, Salt Lake City, Utah. –with staff reports.