Asher’s Maine Chance

Los Angeles Agency Teams Up With 2 Shops To Pitch State’s Anti-Smoking Initiative
BOSTON–Asher & Partners in Los Angeles has teamed up with Arnold Communications in Boston and a small Maine agency to compete in a review for Maine’s first anti-smoking initiative to feature widespread media advertising.
The shops have joined with Creative Design & Marketing, a 25-person agency in Portland, Maine, to pitch the program, sources said. The anti-smoking effort is being administered by the Tobacco Prevention & Control Unit of the Maine Bureau of Health’s Division of Community & Family Health in Augusta, Maine.
Asher handles award-winning creative work on the California Department of Health Services Anti-Tobacco account. Arnold in Boston just closed on a deal to acquire crosstown rival Houston Herstek Favat, which handles the equally lauded tobacco control account in Massachusetts.
The other shops that put in bids in Maine are: Burgess Advertising & Associates; McDonald Communications; NL Partners; and Warren Marketing, all in Portland; and the Artist Group in Fairfield, Maine, said Kip DeSerres, a field director for the Maine anti-smoking initiative.
Agencies have made presentations to state officials, and a selection is expected as soon as next week, DeSerres said.
Overall funding for the program is $3.9 million, raised mainly through the state’s excise tax on cigarettes, DeSerres said. The tax was doubled last June to 74 cents a pack.
An additional $400,000 has come from the National Cancer Institute’s Assist program, which helps fund anti-smoking projects in 17 states, DeSerres said.
There is no firm figure for advertising spending. “That’s up to the agency bid proposals,” DeSerres said. Media spending will likely be $2-3 million, according to agency sources.
Arnold and Asher teamed up late last year to win anti-smoking work in Oregon. The shops are pitching against each other for Florida’s estimated $70 million anti-smoking initiative. For that account, Asher is teaming with Paradigm Communications, and Arnold with Beber Silverstein & Partners.
Last November Asher broke a 30-second TV spot for the State of California Department of Health Services Anti-Tobacco Initiative specifically addressing new anti-tobacco legislation that outlaws smoking in bars and restaurants as of Jan. 1, 1998. The spot is part of Asher’s estimated $75 million anti-smoking effort in that state.