Fla. Has $70 Mil. In Tobacco Spoils For Agency To Snuff Teen Smoking

Florida is beginning a nationwide agency search for a $70 million anti-smoking marketing campaign to be developed over the next 18-24 months, according to state officials.
The largest state anti-smoking effort to date will be funded by Florida’s $11.3 billion cigarette settlement reached last August with tobacco manufacturers. That agreement set aside $200 million for anti-smoking advertising, education and enforcement.
The state is requesting that agencies with at least $40 million in billings contact Gov. Lawton Chiles’ office in Florida. The lead agency on the account must have an office in Florida and be licensed to do business in the state by Dec. 31, 1997, according to the questionnaire.
“We’ll send the agency solicitation out to every agency that requests it,” said Peter Mitchell, one of the state officers running the review. “We’re looking for agencies with a strong knowledge of youth marketing that have experience in changing the behavior of a target group.”
As the clock is already ticking–the money must be applied in two years–the state hopes to complete its agency search within eight weeks. Three to five finalists will be selected and interviewed, but spec creative work will not be expected. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for Dec. 17 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Agencies can fax questions, and the selection committee will respond in kind. All answers will appear on www.state.fl.us/tobacco-faq.
The state’s aim is to reduce tobacco usage in teens under 18. The main caveat for agencies is that “none of the entities wishing to participate in the project, nor its parent or any proposed subcontractors, may have an affiliation or a contractual relationship with any tobacco company, its affiliates, its subsidiaries or its parent,” the solicitation states.
Florida’s anti-smoking initiative is the first of many media campaigns resulting from lawsuit settlements in various states. Mississippi has also earmarked funds for advertising from its agreement. Other states like Texas will most likely follow suit.
–with Steve Krajewski