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(April 6, 2001) -- The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, which late last year won $125 million from Congress for a one-year program to promote healthy lifestyles and exercise to tweens and their parents, asked ad agencies for proposals to develop a plan to use the money in an integrated effort that would combine advertising, public relations and events reaching out to local groups and schools.

CDC said it would offer separate contracts to minority agencies to develop campaigns, but all media buying would be done by the main ad agency. CDC said it hoped the winning ad agency could partner with media companies to promote the effort, but it offered no requirement that media companies match every paid ad with a free ad, as required in the anti-drug campaign of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Although CDC has money for only a one-year program, it offered a contract for up to five years, hoping Congress would continue the program. Ad agencies must submit proposals by May 4. CDC's request was prepared based on information submitted by Omnicom's Porter Novelli and Just Kids. At a bidders conference last week some other agencies questioned whether CDC was giving unfair advantage to those firms. -- Ira Teinowitz

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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