New Anti-Tobacco Account in Play

Questionnaires are due back today to The New York State Department of Health about handling creative and media planning duties on a print and TV anti-tobacco campaign targeting children ages 12-17.

Christine Salmon, who is managing the review for the client, said about 25 shops nationwide have been contacted about the estimated $20 million account, which the RFP called “the largest single campaign undertaken in the history of the Department of Health.”

The winning shop will work with the Youth Coalition, a consortium of children who represent New York’s 62 counties, to create the work.

“The [working] campaign theme is ‘reality check,’ and its message will be a synthesis between the agency and the kids,” Salmon said.

She said the review committee hopes to cut to five agencies by December, select one by the first quarter and launch a campaign by early summer. She added that other accounts will be part of the effort, including one targeting smoking cessation among adults.

Earlier this year, the state received $12.5 billion of a $25 billion settlement with tobacco companies it had sued to recover the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. In June, state officials said they would earmark at least $100 million to develop comprehensive, state-wide, anti-smoking programs.

The review comes 14 months after the American Legacy Foundation awarded its $150-225 million anti-tobacco campaign to a team of agencies led by Arnold Communications in Boston and Crispin Porter & Bo-gusky in Miami [Adweek, Sept. 20, 1999]. That work, themed “Truth,” has garnered national attention.

Desmond Me-dia & Marketing in Slingerlands, N.Y., was tapped last month for media buying after a review.

Salmon said the state’s last anti-smoking work was in-house and ran from 1997-98. Tagged, “We choose not to smoke,” the print ads targeted schoolchildren and featured celebrities such as baseball player Derek Jeter and actress Kirsten Dunst.