Arnold Faces Week of Its Life

Not since March of 1995 when Arnold Communications pitched and won Volkswagen of America has it faced a week with so much at stake.
On Tuesday, New England’s largest ad agency will make a final presentation in the $150-225 million review for the American Legacy Foundation, Washington, D.C. Arnold is leading one of three teams vying for the first national contract to combat tobacco addiction nationwide.
Arnold this week also awaits the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines decision. Along with McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., and Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas, Arnold made final presentations for the estimated $33 million assignment late last week.
The anti-tobacco contract is the biggest assignment the Boston shop has ever gone after, and for many executives it was the focus of their summer’s work. Arnold faces Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, partnering with SFM Media, both in New York, and The Richards Group in Dallas, teaming with Western Initiative Media in Los Angeles.
Arnold and its partner–Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami–both have category experience, which made them front-runners from the beginning. Arnold’s pitch, spearheaded by the same team that has been working to curb smoking in the Bay State since 1993, includes executive vice president Lisa Unsworth, creative directors Pete Favat and Rich Herstek and account planner Tom Birk.
Executives from Arnold, Crispin and numerous specialty agencies serving as subcontractors were scheduled to rehearse their presentation on Monday at Arnold’s D.C. office. They will make their pitch before a six-member review committee the next day.
“The only problem with being in our position is that expectations are high the minute we enter the room,” said a source. “So you could turn in a super performance, have all the right answers and still lose because expectations were not met.”