Feds Set to Split Anti-Drug Media Review Into $150 Mil. ‘Phase II,’ $195 Mil. ‘Phase III’

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) here is close to issuing two requests for additional components in its $1 billion anti-drug media review.
The first of the two, which should be available next week, will be a limited competition for an agency to perform media placement for the client’s $150 million national rollout. Called “Phase II,” the initiative will run from May to October. The review will probably be limited to agencies with solid government experience, ONDCP officials said.
The second rfp will involve an open competition for “Phase III,” a four-year contract for media placement that will be negotiated to the tune of a $195 million annual budget. The government is looking for a top-tier agency or media buying service to place ads created by agencies working with Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
“We’re looking for someone who can give the government the biggest bang for the buck,” said one official. “We’ll be spending the lion’s share of this budget on media.” He added that “a local presence will help.”
Zenith Media of New York has been placing the media for “Phase I,” the government’s 12-city pilot project. Sources at ONDCP said the agency was happy with Zenith’s work, and the media buying service expects to be a contender for the national push this spring.
There are sticking points to be resolved, sources said, such as whether the agency for Phase II can participate in Phase III. “We don’t know the answer to this yet, but it has to be identified out front,” the ONDCP official said.
The government agency has contracted the Department of Health and Human Services to handle the administrative and procurement aspects of the upcoming reviews, sources also said.
Separately, ONDCP “Drug Czar” Barry McCaffrey will fly to Los Angeles this week with key staffers to talk to the entertainment industry about becoming involved with the project. -with Hank Kim