- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

The American Legacy Foundation is trying to help smokers kick the habit with a guy named Bob. The group has brought its reality-based advertising campaign featuring Bob to the Washington area.

The “Bob Quits” campaign, which ran for six weeks in New York at the beginning of the year, follows Bob’s life and his attempt at trying to quit smoking. Bob, whose real name is Ethan Teicher, is not an actor.

As part of the program, the New Yorker, who was picked off the street for the campaign, had stopped smoking for three months before he cheated. But he since has gone “back on the wagon,” said Chris Cullen, executive vice president of communications and marketing for the Legacy Foundation.

The Washington-based foundation is spending $1.5 million for six weeks of print, television and outdoor ads in the metro area. The ads direct viewers to www.bobquits.com, which includes daily short films chronicling Bob’s struggles through his multiweek attempt to quit, excerpts from Bob’s Web-based diary and information about how to quit smoking.

When the campaign ran in New York, more than 130,000 people visited the “Bob Quits” Web site.

About 21 percent of adults in Washington smoke. National statistics show 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit. On average, it takes eight to 11 attempts to be successful, Mr. Cullen said.

Austin, Texas-based GSD&M created the campaign.

Cicada-free vacationing

Ocean City, the self-proclaimed “cicada-free” beach resort, has been banking on those pesky critters to drive in business.

The resort started targeting visitors when the bugs made their debut last month. Print ads and radio spots, created by MGH in Owings Mills, Md., reminded people in cicada-affected areas that they can retreat to the beach resort for refuge.

Mike O’Brien, MGH’s executive vice president, who is not a bug fan, thought there had to be a way to capitalize on the noisy insects, so the agency moved fast to develop a creative approach to the cicada craze.

One radio ad, which featured Ocean City Mayor Jim Mathias, proudly proclaimed the resort as a cicada-free zone because the critters don’t like Ocean City’s sandy soil or dearth of tree roots.

“They apparently don’t like … the taste of salt-water taffy, boogie boarding, surf fishing, caramel corn, sand castles …, bumper cars or even miniature golf,” Mr. Mathias says in the ad. “All which proves the cicada isn’t just annoying. It’s stupid.”

The ads targeted core areas such as Baltimore, Washington and the Pennsylvania markets of Harrisburg, Lancaster and York. No word on whether the advertising has worked.

New wins

• GKV Communications has been named agency of record for “Be a Pilot,” a national educational organization that builds awareness of the aviation industry. The Baltimore ad agency will handle media planning and buying and will provide creative consulting.

• Strategic Communications Group Inc., based in Silver Spring, has been named pubic-relations agency of record for Scheer Partners Inc., which provides commercial real estate services.

• Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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