RICHMOND, VA: In a state where tobacco is in the top five producing
crops, the Commonwealth of Virginia's Tobacco Settlement Foundation has
issued an RFP to launch an anti-smoking public education campaign aimed
at children and those who influence children.
The campaign carries a dollars 28 million budget for three years with a
two-year renewable option, although there is potential for the winning
agency to remain with the foundation for its entire 20-year life
Clarence Carter, foundation executive director, said, 'We will continue
to have some sort of significant marketing operation throughout our
The Virginia foundation received dollars 4 billion as its share from the
dollars 206 billion settlement, a compromise between the states and the
tobacco companies, as compensation when the attorneys-general sued the
tobacco industry to recover costs for treating health-related smoking
diseases. About 10% of the dollars 4 billion is earmarked for the public
Proposals outlining firm capabilities are due on April 16. Carter said
the budget has not been allotted to a particular marketing resource. The
foundation is looking to the agency to tell them where to spend the
money most creatively and effectively.
'We want to hire an organization that is brilliant in this area. We
don't know what our campaign looks like. We don't know how to reach our
target population. We tried to leave the slate clean and let them tell
us what to do,' he explained.
The irony of a multi-million dollar anti-smoking marketing campaign in a
state where tobacco contributes so much to the economy is not lost on
Carter. Tobacco giant Philip Morris is headquartered in Richmond, the
state's capital, where it employs about 6,400 people and its cigarette
manufacturing facility is the largest in the world.
'We are trying to be the first state that moves forward in understanding
the place of tobacco in our economy. This board absolutely rejects a
wholesale dismissal of the tobacco industry,' Carter continued. 'But
even the tobacco companies, at least publicly, agree that children
should not smoke.'
Bidding agencies need not be based in Virginia, but Carter said points
will be given for knowledge of the state's media markets. Carter hopes
to name an agency by the middle of June.
Meanwhile the foundation is searching for a communications director.
Carter hopes to have someone on board to participate in the selection