MN will soon pick Weber successor

MINNEAPOLIS: Two firms are left in competition for a Minnesota

Department of Health two-year, $14 million anti-tobacco

advertising and PR campaign.

A winner will likely be announced before Thanksgiving.

Clarity Coverdale Fury and Gabriel deGrood Bendt are finalists for the

assignment. Incumbent firm Weber Shandwick was a semifinalist, but was

not selected for final consideration. Other semifinalists were

Periscope, a marketing communications agency, and Colle & McVoy.

Minnesota's youth anti-tobacco program is called Target Market. It had

worked with Weber the past two years to build awareness for its brand

and to recruit teens for grassroots anti-smoking efforts. Marketing

spending on the program to date has been about 60% for advertising and

40% for PR, but the mix will likely change to slightly more advertising

over the next two years, said Michele Vig, marketing director.

PR's role will shift to more grassroots efforts and away from supporting

major events, she said. "We need to concentrate on finessing the brand

image. We want to reach at-risk kids," Vig said.

Even with less PR though, spending on PR will still be about 30% of the

$6-$7 million annual marketing budget, or about $2

million, Vig said.

The assignment begins January 1, and runs for two years.

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