Proving that politics make strange bedfellows, Smith & Harroff, Alexandria, Va., whose partner Bill Greener was convention manager for the Republican National Convention, is carrying the torch of tobacco ad critics, a group consisting largely of Democrats who have embraced the issue as a political one.
$2 MILLION EFFORT
"While the Democrats meet in Chicago, 12,000 kids will start smoking," noted an ad for the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids that ran in convention publications and launched a $2 million effort for the group.
More ads began running this month in papers published in individual congressional districts where candidates haven't taken strong positions on tobacco advertising.
"Our issue should be a bipartisan issue and we thought we could benefit from their perspective," said Brian Ruberry, media manager for the group. "They have a lot of corporate clients and as we build membership we could form strategic alliances. But basically it's because they are a damn good advertising agency."
Smith & Harroff President Jay Smith said the decision to handle the group wasn't difficult and he didn't see it as a conflict. Among the recent campaigns from the shop is one for the Republican National Committee attacking President Clinton on healthcare.
`NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE'
"I believe in the issue. I don't view it as a partisan issue," he said. "I know a lot of Republicans who believe in it."