N.Y. Mental Health Dept. Signs 6 Shops

NEW YORK Six agencies will split the New York Department of Mental Health and Hygiene’s estimated $3-5 million advertising account after nearly 50 shops originally contacted the client this spring.

The six roster shops, all in New York, are I Claudia Visual Communications, Ork Macro, DeAngelo Callahan Advertising, Jeff St. Onge & Friends, LPNY and the Wolf Group, said Jeffrey Escoffier, the client’s director of health media and marketing. The open-ended roster status will allow the shops to pitch various projects throughout the year, with no shop getting more than $1.5 million worth of work in a year, Escoffier said.

“Over the last two years [our budget] has changed dramatically,” Escoffer said. “With the economic downturn and the city’s fiscal situation, it is much smaller than it once was.”

The department spent nearly $8 million on ads last year, with the bulk of the work dedicated to a tobacco-cessation campaign funded by settlement money, he said. In 2004, the budget will likely be half of that, Escoffier said.

None of the projects has yet been determined, Escoffier said. The client handles media planning and buying internally.