Arkansas rehires incumbent for anti-tobacco work

LITTLE ROCK, AR: The Arkansas Department of Health has renewed its contract with Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods to coordinate media, health communications, and public education for its tobacco prevention and cessation program.

LITTLE ROCK, AR: The Arkansas Department of Health has renewed its contract with Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods to coordinate media, health communications, and public education activities for its tobacco prevention and cessation program. The year-long initiative has a total budget of $1.3 million.

The firm has been the program's AOR for the past seven years. It beat out one unidentified competitor during an RFP process, said Timothy Smith, procurement branch chief at the Arkansas Department of Health.

Work on the account will officially start July 1. The year-long contract has a renewal option for up to six years.

Since the “Stamp Out Smoking” program's inception in 2002, the state has developed marketing programs using a mix of paid media, sponsorships, PR, and grassroots outreach to inform the public about the effects of tobacco use, the original RFP said.

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods is awaiting formal award notification, which is expected to occur two weeks after the intent-to-award notice is posted. Assuming the process continues, the firm is “ecstatic to continue work,” said Pam Jones, senior public relations account executive at the firm

Near the final year of the previous contract, the firm began to disseminate messages about smoking prevention in addition to cessation. It will to continue to focus on both aspects.

The win comes weeks after the surgeon general issued a report about tobacco use. It found that 88% of tobacco users' first cigarettes were smoked before the age of 18. The report “reaffirms that we need to include a prevention message,” Jones said.

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