Annapolis, MD: Following in the footsteps of many other US states,
Maryland is now accepting pitches on its long-awaited contract to
"develop and conduct an aggressive sustained mass media and PR campaign"
aimed at educating the public on the perils of tobacco. Sixteen agencies
are involved in the process.
Up to $4.5 million has been allocated for the contract, which
runs between January 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003. The funds come from the
Master Settlement Agreement negotiated between the state
attorneys-general and tobacco companies, and will be overseen by the
state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
While no breakdown of the budget has been set, Joan Stine, project
manager, believes that 40% will be spent on PR.
The state is looking for proposals that show creative ability for
programs that will reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand
Agencies submitted 10 copies of the proposal with sealed financial
These will be distributed to a committee who will evaluate the technical
portion of the proposal. Those agencies that don't meet the initial
requirements will be eliminated.
The rest will be rated by a special evaluation system, then their
financial information opened and rated from "most to least." Agencies
will be invited to do oral presentations based on a combination of
The state agency plans to select a PR firm by Thanksgiving.
In 1998, Maryland received $54.3 million from the Settlement
Agreement, and still receives between $144.9 million and $189.6 million annually.
The $4.5-million budget for an 18-month campaign may seem small,
but Stine said she expects the budget in future years will be increased.