Pubdate: Thu, 13 Nov 2003
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2003 Crain Communications Inc.
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Cited: Office of National Drug Control Policy ( )
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project ( )
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Budget Cut Less Than Expected; Ogilvy's Fate Uncertain

WASHINGTON -- The White House youth anti-drug ad campaign apparently won't 
have have to be scaled back as much as first feared.

A House-Senate conference committee last night recommended a $145 million 
appropriation for the campaign, a figure far closer to the House's $150 
million figure than the Senate's $100 million. President Bush had requested 
$170 million for the campaign, after receiving $150 million last year.

Higher budgets in past

In past years, the campaign's budget has been between $175 million and $180 

Not all the money appropriated has been spent on advertising, as the White 
House Office of National Drug Control Policy used some of it to fund 
studies of the advertising's effectiveness and public relations activities 
to support the ad campaign. In turn, spending on non-media activities has 
drawn congressional scrutiny.

The conference committee required 78% of the new money go toward actual 
media buying. WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles the campaign, 
while the Partnership for a Drug-Free America produces most of the advertising.

Pending legislation

Ogilvy's future on the account, meanwhile, has yet to be determined. A 
draft of legislation reauthorizing the ad campaign being drawn by Sens. 
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, 
would require the contract be re-bid, with Ogilvy -- which settled charges 
for $1.8 million that it overbilled the government -- excluded. That 
legislation, however, had yet to be introduced as of this morning and 
action on it won't take place until next year.

While the idea of the ad campaign has some strong congressional backing, 
some legislators have questioned the campaign's effectiveness, as have some 
groups backing legalized marijuana use.

"We continue to believe that the appropriate funding level is zero, as this 
program is a proven failure according to the surveys designated by Congress 
as measures of ONDCP's success," Steve Fox, director of government 
relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, said today.

Final vote uncertain

Despite the conference committee's approval of the drug office spending as 
part of a transportation and postal appropriations bill, there was some 
confusion today on whether the overall measure would proceed to a final 
vote next week.

Congress is going in two directions to fund the government, moving ahead on 
individual appropriations bills for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 -- 
like the one containing the drug office money -- while also preparing a 
catchall bill to temporarily authorize continued spending at last year's 
levels if agreement can't be reached on individual bills.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager