FDA awards $625m tobacco-education contract to FCB-Rescue partnership

The five-year contract went into effect this week. Work will include traditional and paid media, social media, mobile, community outreach, and partnerships with organizations.

Screenshot from an ad for FDA campaign The Real Cost Screenshot from an ad for FDA campaign "The Real Cost"
Screenshot from an ad for FDA campaign The Real Cost Screenshot from an ad for FDA campaign "The Real Cost"

WASHINGTON: The Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products has awarded an advertising contract for up to $625 million to True North Communications, a partnership between FCB New York and Rescue.

The contract, which went into effect on Monday, will run for five years, according to the award notice. The account requires the firms to develop multichannel public health education campaigns to "support ongoing public education efforts to prevent death and disease caused by tobacco use," an FDA spokesperson said.

"The FDA is investing in a number of public education campaigns, such as The Real Cost, Fresh Empire, and This Free Life to help educate the public—especially youth—about the dangers of tobacco products," said the FDA spokesperson.

Past FDA Center for Tobacco Products campaigns have targeted at-risk youth general audience, multicultural youth ages 12 to 17, rural youth and LGBT young adults. The FDA is also planning campaigns that would target American Indian and Alaska Native youth, according to the draft indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.

The agency will be expected to develop campaigns including traditional and paid media, social media, mobile, community outreach, and partnerships with organizations.

The FDA’s goal is to reach audiences as large as 10 million people combined; agency partners will be responsible for media buys in excess of $100 million.

Representatives from FCB New York and Rescue were not immediately available for comment.

Last year, FCB Health worked with AIDS service organization the Gay Men’s Health Crisis on a campaign to change the rule barring gay men from donating blood. Rescue is a behavior change marketing agency headquartered in San Diego with offices in Atlanta; Washington, DC; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hollywood, California.

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