California $6m tobacco-control campaign decision under appeal

California’s decision to award a $6 million Department of Public Health statewide tobacco-control PR campaign to Los Angeles-based social purpose agency Rally is under appeal.

The Golden State released the RFP for a multifaceted, comprehensive, statewide tobacco-use-prevention PR campaign in June. It was set to have posted an intent-to-award notice in late August, according to a tentative schedule included in the RFP. Golin was the incumbent on the work.

The state Public Health Department listed Rally as the winner on the RFP website this summer. However, when asked about the status of award, a department spokesperson said the decision has been appealed. 

“An appeal has been requested and CPDH will determine next steps in accordance with the rules of the RFP,” the spokesperson said. 

The department declined to release information about the appeal, including the name of the agency that filed it, until the process comes to a close.

Appeals were set to be filed by September 4, with a final decision to be made by the department’s assistant deputy director, according to the RFP. That judgment is expected next month, according to the spokesperson.

A Rally representative declined to comment. Golin representatives did not respond to requests seeking comment. 

In addition to Golin and Rally, other agencies indicated interest in the seven-figure account. Access Brand Communications, Allison+Partners, Amy Levy PR, Bob Gold & Associates, BCW, Edelman, Fiona Hutton & Associates, FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, MullenLowe and Praytell were among the attendees of a July 2 Health Department webinar about the campaign, according to state documents. 

California released the RFP in June, looking for an agency to “conceptualize, develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a multifaceted, comprehensive, statewide tobacco-use-prevention public relations campaign,” according to the scope of work statement.

The winning firm would provide strategic planning, crisis management and response, media strategy, media relations, press events, website copy and content, media training, social media strategy, issues monitoring and other activities as requested.

This story was updated on September 23 with additional information. 

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