Vermont searches for shop for anti-tobacco efforts

BURLINGTON, VT: The Vermont Department of Health has released an RFP for media and public health education services to reduce smoking in the state.

BURLINGTON, VT: The Vermont Department of Health has released an RFP for media and public health education services to reduce smoking in the state.

The health department wants to cut tobacco-use rates by up to 12% by 2020. To reach this goal, the agency will charge the winning firm with launching several campaigns. The two-year contract begins in July and has a renewal option for two additional years. The budget for fiscal year 2012 will be $788,515.

The department will hold a bidders' conference on February 1, with RFPs due February 16. The state agency will pick a winner by March.

The winning firm will be required to launch a campaign focused on tobacco cessation. The effort must target adult smokers, with a special focus on consumers of lower socio-economic status and other disparate populations. The second planned campaign is a tobacco-prevention effort targeting youth, with a special focus on at-risk youth and new and emerging tobacco products.

The third category of work is called “special campaigns.” Each will focus on a different topic, including the dangers of second-hand smoke, targeting parents or caregivers of children. Another campaign would focus on support for smoke-free air policies.

The campaigns must involve mass media, social media, and online advertising. The contractor will also be charged with obtaining earned media, drafting press releases, and pitching stories to Vermont media outlets.

Kelliher Samets Volk in Burlington has managed the account since 2001.

“They have developed campaigns that have been effective in reaching our target audiences,” said Robert Stirewalt, public information officer at the health department. “Both the youth and adult rates have declined significantly… [since] we began doing campaigns and working with this vendor.”

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