Tobacco Money Spurs RFPs

Efforts to combat smoking are heating up, with several requests for proposals making the rounds in Massachusetts and more strongly themed American Legacy Foundation ads due to break nationwide this week.
The Bay State’s Department of Public Health has issued a pair of procurements, each budgeted at $3 million for 15 months, seeking shops to craft separate campaigns to help prevent smoking among minority men and women. The contracts commence in April and are funded through the master settlement agreement between the tobacco industry and a coalition of attorneys general in several states.
That settlement also funds American Legacy’s campaign helmed by Boston-based Arnold Communications, which is also lead agency for the DPH. Arnold itself has placed out to bid minority subcontracting projects that in recent years have been handled by Boston-area boutiques, including Argus Communications, Two Potato, GeoVision and CPC Communications.
American Legacy pulled two of its ads from the nation’s airwaves last week after the ads came under fire for their morbid tone and for vilifying the tobacco industry, which violates the settlement agreement.
American Legacy official William Furmanski strongly defended the ads. “We need to keep the creative fresh in order not to lose teens’ attention. At any time in the next 12-18 months, we’ll have ads in some stage of the creative process.” K