Drug Office Readies 2 RFPs in $1 Bil. Media Review

In Play: $150 Mil. for 1998, Plus $195 Mil. Annually Over 4 Years
WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Office of National Drug Control Policy is about to issue two requests for proposals for its $1 billion anti-drug media review.
The first rfp, which should be available next week, will be for the media buying portion of ONDCP’s $150 million national ad campaign. Called “Phase II,” that initiative will run from May to October 1998. Time constraints will likely limit the review to shops that have government experience and can hit the ground running, ONDCP officials said.
The second rfp will involve an open contest for “Phase III,” a four-year contract for media placement with an annual budget of $195 million. The prevailing agency will place ads created by shops working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
“We’ll be spending the lion’s share of this budget on media,” said one official, so “we’re looking for someone who can give the government the biggest bang for the buck.” “A [D.C.] presence will help,” the official added.
Zenith Media in New York has been buying media for Phase I, the 12-city pilot project. Sources said the ONDCP was happy with Zenith’s work, and the media buying service expects to be a contender for the national push.
The media planning for all three phases was done by Creative Media in New York, which was contracted for the job by Porter Novelli here. Porter Novelli is designing the rfp’s. An ONDCP official said it had not yet been decided whether agencies involved in Phases I or II would be able to participate in the other phases. “We don’t know the answer to this yet, but it [will] be identified out front,” in the rfp’s, the official said.
The Department of Health and Human Services will handle the administration of both reviews, sources added.
Separately, “Drug Czar” Gen. Barry McCaffrey, head of the ONDCP, will fly to Los Angeles this week in hopes of persuading movie studios and producers to cease making drug use look common or glamorous in films and TV shows, said his senior adviser, Alan Levitt.
–with Hank Kim