Riding Anti-Smoking Wave

By Teresa Buyikian and Angela Dawson
Asher/Gould Wraps Up 2 Campaigns, Snags a Third
LOS ANGELES–Asher/Gould Advertising here recently completed two new anti-tobacco campaigns and has won a third state tobacco-prevention account.
The shop last week broke a 30-second TV spot for the State of California Department of Health Services Anti-Tobacco Initiative that specifically addresses new anti-tobacco legislation. As of Jan. 1, all bars and restaurants in California will be designated “smoke-free.” The spot–supported by general market radio and trade print ads that target bar and restaurant owners–is part of a three-year, estimated $75 million anti-smoking effort.
The spot, “Waitresses,” depicts servers in different bar and restaurant settings. “We never met, but you know me. I’m your waitress,” one server tells the viewer. Another explains that working eight hours in a bar is like smoking a pack of cigarettes. A third says waitressing leads to lung cancer and heart disease more than in any other women’s job. Text at the close reads: “Smoke-free bars and restaurants. Coming January ’98.”
“[The commercial] gives the waitresses personalities,” said Colleen Stevens, chief of the tobacco control media campaign at California’s Department of Health Services. “We want people to remember this [initiative] is employee protection. This is a human issue.”
Asher/Gould has also completed an anti-smoking campaign for the Los Angeles County Health Department that began running Nov. 22 on 150 local movie screens. The two movie trailers, which use white text on a black screen, are intended to combat the entertainment industry’s glamorization of smoking. One reads, “Smoking is not permitted in this movie theatre. . . Of course, you could always break the law. And get arrested.” The 30-second execution then describes other perils that befall the careless smoker.
Separately, Asher/Gould may soon be working on anti-smoking efforts in Oregon. The state’s health division tentatively awarded its $4 million, 19-month contract to the Oregon Tobacco Prevention Alliance, a group that includes Asher/Gould and other companies, a state health official confirmed last week. The agency bested two other bidders, the Riester Corp. in Phoenix and a group known as the Countermarketing Coalition.
In addition to Asher/Gould, the winning alliance also included Houston Herstek Favat in Boston, which handles Massachusetts’ anti-smoking awareness effort; Western International Media in Los Angeles; public relations firm Rogers & Associates, Los Angeles; and Portland, Ore.-based PR firms Pac West Communications and Strategic Planning & Research.
The Countermarketing Coalition was headed by Conkling Fiskum & McCormick, a PR firm also in Portland.
Barring a formal protest from the other finalists, the winning group will develop a comprehensive, statewide public awareness and education campaign about tobacco.