Conn. Preps Assault on Tobacco

Master Settlement Cash Spurs Activity in Constitution State
By David Gianatasio and Judy Warner
BOSTON–Officials with the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management this week begin mulling about 15 proposals submitted by firms hoping to work on the state’s first anti-tobacco media and education campaign.
Funded through the master settlement agreement between major tobacco firms and attorneys general in several states, Connecticut will receive $4 million for one year.
The program emphasizes, but is not limited to, paid media efforts designed to reduce smoking among children and adults, according to the grant award application.
Among the proposals received by the submission deadline earlier this month were pitches from about seven advertising and marketing companies, mostly pitching in tandem with other firms, said Maraide Sullivan, an OPM representative.
Mintz & Hoke, Avon, Conn., has applied, but an agency official said it is too early to discuss what partners it might bring in to fortify its pitch. Mintz has a history of social issues work, including campaigns promoting safe sex and AIDS awareness and curbing teen pregnancy. Keiler & Co., Farmington, Conn., is also believed to be involved.
Sullivan de-clined to identify the firms submitting proposals, though she did note that Arnold Communications, Boston, which creates national anti-smoking campaigns and tobacco control campaigns for Massachusetts, was not among the bidders, even though the solicitation is not restricted to Connecticut firms.
Other possible contenders, whose inclusion could not be verified by press time, are state tourism shop O’Neal & Prelle, Hartford; Connecticut Lottery agency Cronin
& Co., Glastonbury; and North Castle Partners, Stamford, Conn., which has prowess in teen marketing.
A decision is expected in April, with ads breaking this summer.
Advertising is only one component of the program. The state is also looking to develop teaching materials for schools and an outreach program to local health departments. A measurement and accountability program to gauge the effectiveness of the effort is also a key requirement.
“Our ideal situation is hiring one entity that could do it all,” but there’s a chance the assignment will be split among several bidders, Sullivan said. Owing to the multifaceted nature of the program, however, the state encouraged advertising and marketing firms to team with other vendors, such as health consultants and research firms. K