Ohio Selects Anti-Smoking Shop

Northlich has been awarded Ohio’s anti-tobacco account following a month-long review that involved most of the state’s major agencies.

The Cincinnati shop was selected over 11 undisclosed contenders for the four-year, $50 million contract. The business is administered by the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation in Columbus, Ohio.

“[Northlich] scored the highest on our evaluation criteria and demonstrated they can handle this immense task,” said Susan Jagers, the foundation’s interim assistant director.

Although the contract is for four years, the agency is subject to annual reviews, Jagers said.

Northlich’s task is to create an integrated marketing and advertising campaign, which will include special events and public relations work slated to begin in January, said Rick Miller, evp and managing director at Northlich.

Because of the assignment’s scope, Northlich will subcontract work to other shops, including Muse Cordero Chen, a Los Angeles-based multicultural agency, and Nixon Group, a Washington company that specializes in grass-roots marketing, Miller said.

Like agencies in other states, Northlich will look at successful campaigns developed elsewhere, Miller said. Last month, MZD Advertising in Indianapolis used TV work created by Arnold in Boston that shows victims of smoking and their families talking about their situation. To tailor the effort, MZD added a message about how many Hoosiers die each year because of tobacco use [Ad-week, Nov. 5].

Northlich let go 90 employees—half of its staff—during the course of this year. The most recent round of layoffs was in November.

In April, the sagging economy led the agency to postpone a planned acquisition of Bridge Communications. The move would have created a single agency with nearly $200 million in billings.

Miller could not say whether Northlich will hire additional employees to handle the new assignment.

The anti-tobacco advertising budget—as is the case in other states—comes out of court settlements with tobacco companies.