The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is moving to bid out a contract to develop both a media plan and a way to evaluate ad agencies interested in implementing it as part of a five-year, $875 million campaign to sour kids on drugs.
The early action could result in a situation where media decisions are being made months before ad creative is developed.
ADS UNLIKELY BEFORE JANUARY
The ad campaign is due to begin in the federal fiscal year starting Oct. 1, though ads are unlikely to air before Jan. 1. The drug policy office, however, is hoping to speed up their appearance by doing some advance planning.
"We want to be ready to go with a plan as soon as money is appropriated by Congress," said Don Maple, director of communications in the drug policy office. "We want to have a media plan in place for the agency we hire to execute it."
Mr. Maple said because of the size and length of the ad campaign, hiring an agency has to go through full government procurement procedures and may not be able to begin until Congress authorizes the antidrug program.
The White House office declined to estimate the size of the contract, though one source said a $500,000 figure has been discussed.
The office of drug policy has never before done antidrug advertising and is hoping to get $350 million worth of such advertising-half of that in paid time and space and half donated-into the media next year, most of it on TV.
Mr. Maple said because the office has done no advertising in the past, it felt it also needed a consultant to help review pitches from ad agencies.