FDA Sheds Additional Light on Tobacco RFPs

Decisions are expected by end of March

Ad Week

Noreen O’Leary

Just over a month ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued two requests for proposals for the government agency’s first tobacco public education campaigns, all of which will target teens.

The FDA was granted the authority to regulate tobacco products by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act, signed into law in 2009, and could spend up to $600 million on the combined budgets over the course of five years. The first RFP is aimed at preventing tobacco use among youth, aged 13-17, with a budget ceiling of $390 million.

The second RFP is for an initiative aiming to reduce tobacco use by minority teen intermittent youth smokers, with the FDA taking a broad view of what constitutes “minority,” including classification by racial and ethnicity, sexual orientation; people with disabilities; those living in poverty or rural locations; those with military affiliation; and pregnant women. That RFP is intended for agencies that qualify as small businesses, and the FDA said it may spend up to $210 million. Michael Herndon, FDA deputy director of strategy, office of public affairs, offers some additional details about the RFPs, which are due Nov. 23.

Will participating ad agencies be required to develop creative work?

The solicitation requests a draft creative brief that provides early thoughts on actionable approaches to effect attitudinal and behavioral change. Creative execution ideas are not requested for the Nov. 23 proposal submission.

When does the FDA expect to make a decision?

There are two independent contract solicitations—one for general market teen and young adult audiences and one for at-risk populations of the same age. We anticipate making up to four awards per contract and expect to make these awards by the end of March 2012.

The FDA RFPs have a combined budget of “up to” $600 million over the course of five years. What determines the final amount of marketing spending?

Our goal is to effectively reach teens and young adults with a host of messages that will personally speak to them in relevant ways. The final spend will be determined by how we can most effectively accomplish this goal.

Has the FDA been working with the anti-smoking organization, American Legacy Foundation, which was created from the Master Settlement Agreement?

The American Legacy Foundation has educated the FDA about its campaign activities, but the FDA anticipates reaching audiences with campaign messages that are unique and different from the campaign messages utilized by the American Legacy Foundation.

One of the RFPs is a solicitation for agencies that qualify as small businesses. What is the criteria for that determination?

One solicitation is a total Small Business Set Aside. All small businesses that qualify under NAICS 541810—currently $7 million or less in annual revenue—are eligible to apply.

Leave a Reply

Please Answer: *