‘Truth’ Is Triumphant

Arnold-Crispin Wins Anti-Smoking Review
BOSTON–Chemistry, experience and a fervent passion for the cause led the American Legacy Foundation to award its $150-225 million account last week to the alliance of Arnold Communications and Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
The losing contenders were the teams of Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG with SFM Media, both in New York; and The Richards Group and Western Initiative Media in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively.
Executives at Arnold, based in Boston, view the challenge as nothing short of creating an anti-smoking movement with the chance to raise the first generation of tobacco-free children.
“They have a great deal of experience in building a coalition, an enormous amount of enthusiasm and a strong personal commitment to the topic,” said selection committee member David Milenthal, chairman of HMS Partners in Columbus, Ohio, and an outspoken critic of Big Tobacco.
The winning presentation, led by Arnold Communications executive vice president Lisa Unsworth, was built around the word “Truth,” employed in the same way as brand names such as Marlboro or Camel.
“It’s a word the tobacco industry fears. We’re going to be working like hell to make sure we have the best brand and the best campaign,” said Alex Bogusky, creative director and partner at Miami-based Crispin, who led the creative pitch with Arnold’s Pete Favat.
Both shops’ prior experience in anti-smoking efforts had made the Arnold-Crispin team an early favorite in the contest [Adweek, June 21]. In fact, Crispin’s prior relationship with foundation executive vice president Chuck Wolfe on anti-smoking efforts in Florida had some agencies grumbling that the team had an unfair advantage. The team’s winning strategy is similar to the one Crispin employed in Florida.
Arnold Communications will treat its alliance members–which include Bromley, Aguilar & Associates in San Antonio, Burrell Communications Group in Chicago, Circle.com in Boston and Nixon Group in Miami–as subcontractors.
No decision has been made on when new creative work will appear or how much money will be allocated to targeting minority populations, said Wolfe. Agency executives believe the first advertising will be ready early next year.
Agencies will be compensated based on how much they change tobacco awareness, attitudes and behavior. A National Youth Tobacco Survey due this fall from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will serve as a baseline for measuring success.
Advertising is just one part of the program, said Arnold chairman Ed Eskandarian. Public relations and special events, such as a youth summit held in Washington, D.C., last weekend, and the Internet, will play big parts in the coming campaign.
Bogusky noted the team will look to promote the “Truth” in movies. “[A movie] really normalizes tobacco in kids’ lives. It’s better than any advertisement to have Leonardo DiCaprio smoke.”
Dick Murray, the principal who led Richards’ pitch team, expressed disappointment over the decision. A plan to restage Richards’ presentation for the rest of the agency was on hold while he assessed team members’ feelings.
“I don’t think many folks have the stomach for it; people are a little bummed out right now,” Murray said. Regarding the Arnold-Crispin win, he said, “It sounded like their experience carried the day. We got some information [on why the Richards pitch was unsuccessful], but not a great deal.”
Wolfe said he would meet with Murray at a later date to review the decision in detail. –with T.W. Siebert