Florida’s $70 Mil. Anti-Smoking Account In Play

Agencies With at Least $40 Mil. in Billings Will Be Invited

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The State of Florida has begun a nationwide search to find an agency to develop an anti-smoking campaign that will be backed by $70 million over the next 18 to 24 months, according to state officials.
The state is requesting that agencies with at least $40 million in billings contact Gov. Lawton Chiles’ office. The lead agency on the account will be required to have an in-state office and be licensed to do business in Florida by Dec. 31, 1997, according to the request for proposal.
“We’ll send the agency solicitation out to every agency that requests it,” said Peter Mitchell, one of the state officials 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.” The state’s aim is to reduce tobacco usage by youths under the age of 18.
The main caveat 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.
Agencies can submit questions to the state’s selection committee. The panel will fax answers back and put the correspondence on its Web site, www.state.fl.us/tobacco-faq.
Because the money must be spent in two years, the state hopes to complete the search within eight weeks. Three to five finalists will be selected; speculative creative work will not be expected. A prebid conference is scheduled for Dec. 17 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida’s $11.3 billion settlement, an agreement reached last August with tobacco marketers, will fund the largest state anti-smoking ad account to date.
Separately, Mississippi has also set aside funds for advertising from its settlement, and other states such as Texas appear likely to do the same.
–with Steve Krajewski