California’s Department of Health has denied Golin’s appeal of its decision to award a $6 million anti-tobacco campaign to Los Angeles-based social purpose agency Rally.

The decision was made on October 7 by Maria Ochoa, assistant deputy director of operations for the department’s center for healthy communities, who informed Golin’s Los Angeles office the same day, according to the department.

Golin was the incumbent on the account when the RFP for the comprehensive, statewide tobacco-use-prevention PR campaign was released in June. The RFP closed in mid-July, and the Department of Health posted a notice that Rally won the work on its RFP website.

Golin appealed the decision on September 9, saying the state incorrectly judged its proposal, according to a department spokesperson.

Ochoa disagreed. “The information presented did not demonstrate that [California Tobacco Control Program] failed to correctly apply the standards for reviewing your agency’s proposal in accordance with the RFP,” she wrote in a letter to the Interpublic Group firm, denying its appeal. “As a result, the decision to not fund your agency stands.”

The judgment is final, according to the terms of the RFP, Ochoa added, and “no further administrative appeal is available.”

The goal of the campaign is to reach multicultural audiences and diverse communities in the state to educate and boost support for tobacco-free social norms, according to pre-RFP documents.

The contract was tentatively set to run for four years starting on October 15, with a one-year optional extension. The state Tobacco Control Program anticipates that up to $1.2 million will be available per year, with the five-year total not to exceed $6 million if the extension is activated, according to state documents.

Golin declined to comment on the decision. Rally could not be immediately reached for comment. 

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