Ohio anti-smoking group considers PR budget cuts

COLUMBUS, OH: The Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation could soon rescind or drastically change an RFP it currently has out for an anti-smoking campaign.

COLUMBUS, OH: The Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation could soon rescind or drastically change an RFP it currently has out for an anti-smoking campaign.

The foundation's board will meet August 5 to decide whether to cut its operating budget because of state funding cutbacks.

The RFP contemplates annual spending around $10.5 million on the integrated marketing effort for the next three years.

If the board decides to cut overall spending, however, the RFP will be pulled or modified to reflect lower spending levels, said Beth Schieber, director of communications.

The latest state budget took $230 million the foundation was to receive this year and reserved it for other purposes.

Foundation operations are being funded by income earned on a $315 million endowment. It spent $53 million in the fiscal year that ended in June and has budgeted spending of $51 million for its current fiscal year.

The board will decide on August 5 whether the foundation should cut expenses so that it can function solely on its $18 million annual endowment income, explained Schieber.

Cincinnati-based Northlich has handled the foundation's anti-smoking advertising and PR campaign since 2002. It is among the firms competing for the new contract.

Other firms had until the close of business July 27 to submit their capabilities, Schieber said. The foundation hopes to make an agency selection by October.

The American Legacy Group, a national anti-smoking organization originally funded by the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry, is also devising new outreach methods now that its funding has dried up.

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