Marketing RFP Issued By CDC Foundation

Heart attacks and strokes can be catastrophic, life-changing events that are all too common. Heart disease and stroke are preventable, yet they remain the leading causes of death, disability and healthcare spending in the U.S. Alarmingly, many of these events happen to adults ages 35-64–over 800,000 in 2016. Even though there were over 200 cardiovascular deaths per day in 2016 in those aged 35-64 years, the public still responds to early deaths of prominent individuals as if this is a very unusual occurrence. 

And despite steady declines in cardiovascular disease mortality rates of the last 40 years, recent data indicate that progress toward reducing heart disease and stroke related deaths has plateaued among the general population and has increased among some sub-populations, especially those under 65. As the sole entity authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic sponsors and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission, the CDC Foundation has engaged private funders to partner with CDC Foundation, CDC and community stakeholders in implementing a four-year health communication campaign to change the conversation related to heart disease and stroke prevention in the United States (U.S.). This campaign is made possible by the “Alliance for he Million Hearts® Campaign,” which is a public-private coalition that CDC Foundation has engaged to help confront the nation’s leading cause of death – cardiovascular disease. This Alliance exists to help fuel CDC’s Million Hearts® Initiative towards its goal of preventing at least one million heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events. The campaign is one component that supports multiple strategies and priorities of the broader Million Hearts® Initiative. As CDC’s Million Hearts® Initiative focuses on engaging and empowering the clinical- and public-health community, this campaign will complement that effort with a focus on consumers and patients, and specifically deploying communications strategies to drive awareness and engagement.

This effort will produce two complementary campaigns, including (1) one Upstream Campaign that promotes primary prevention among African American adults ages 35-54 and (2) a Downstream Campaign that promotes primary and secondary prevention among older Americans ages 55 – 64. Campaign objectives include: 

• Increasing audiences’ understanding of their personal risk for heart disease and stroke

• Increase audiences’ belief in their power to improve their heart health and lower their risk for heart disease and stroke

• Equip audiences to take steps to protect their heart health As part of this effort, CDC Foundation is awarding funding in 2021 for a subcontractor to lead the implementation planning and execution of these two integrated marketing communication campaigns. 

This RFP does not include creative strategy and content production for the campaigns, but focuses on the integrated marketing communications planning and implementation, with an emphasis on earned media, shared media and grassroots outreach channels. The preferred timeline would anticipate completion of all tasks by December 2023


Proposals should be submitted by email to the CDC Foundation. Proposals should be no more than 20 pages, single spaced, 10-point minimum font, not including appendices, and should address the following:

• Process/Approach: The applicant’s proposed process or approach to completing each of the 12 tasks outlined in the scope of work;

• Relevant Examples: References to recommendations and considerations for setting each task up for success based on relevant examples of the applicant’s prior work in completing similar tasks;

• Budget: A topline budget (ideal range of $1.5 million – $2 million) that reflects the applicant’s best estimate of the costs to complete all tasks in the scope of work (covering both the Upstream and Downstream campaigns). The budget should include a rationale that explains which costs are mandatory or fixed requirements. And, it should be itemized to demonstrate allocation for each task.

• Account Team: A list of the core account members who would manage or execute the scope of work, including titles, role on this project and bio snippets detailing each account member’s individual experience. This team should reflect the total team, including sole contractor, prime contractor and/or subcontractors as appropriate.

• Agency Capabilities: A list of the relevant capabilities and services that are accessible within the subcontractor’s organization or network, which would add value to the subcontractor’s management of the scope of work.

The applicant may also include an optional Key Questions document in the proposal appendix to detail any questions they would want to have answered or to request additional information they would want to receive if selected to advance to the next round of selection. Proposals should be submitted by email and applicants are required to apply by 5 p.m. on April 30, 2021. Please email the entire proposal to Shanavian Houser, Project Officer – Million Hearts at the CDC Foundation at shouser@cdcfoundation.orgwith the subject line of “[name of company] Campaign Integrated Marketing Vendor Proposal”. Key Contact: Shanavian Houser, Project Officer – Million Hearts. Send email inquiries to

Scope of Work:

UPSTREAM (LEAD) CAMPAIGN (TARGET: AFRICAN AMERICANS, AGES 35-54) The lead campaign in this initiative is an Upstream Campaign focused on promoting primary prevention to help prevent heart disease and strokes by empowering audiences to act now to lower their risk factors. The primary target audience for the campaign year is African Americans ages 35-54. For this Upstream Campaign, the subcontractor will lead Tasks 1-7 below.

Task 1: Lead public-private partner engagement and management.

The Million Hearts® Campaign is made possible by a CDC Foundation-managed public-private coalition that provides counsel, content and resources. The subcontractor will be responsible for helping CDC Foundation engage additional partners as participants in and contributors to the Campaign, with a focus on (1) health content partners that can provide relevant content/resources to complement campaign content, such as other federal agencies or nonprofit organizations focused on cardiovascular health, and (2) private sector partners that can provide in-kind incentives (experiences, products or services) to reward audiences for taking steps toward heart healthy living – this could include retail brands that have brick and mortar presence in local communities; consumer brands focusing on fitness, nutrition, food & beverage, weight loss, kitchenware; or media partners that have extensive reach to the target audience. For this task, CDC Foundation will provide a roadmap based on prior planning and working existing working drafts of a partner engagement plan, priority prospect list and partner pitch materials. This task will include building on work in progress to:

– Provide strategic recommendations for and develop content to engage and pitch partner prospects.

– Develop customized marketing activation ideas for top-tier consumer brands.

– Consult the subcontractor’s own network and relationships to propose and help set up meetings with partner prospects and warm lead contacts who could benefit from participation in this campaign.

– Provide overall support and management of the Alliance for the Million Hearts® campaign, including leading strategy and implementation for routine partner communications; partner relationship management and collaboration meetings; and partner-led marketing activations. 

Timing: For this task, the partner engagement planning should be completed and prospect outreach should be initiated within the first two months after the subcontractor’s selection, with the goal of having leading private sector partners (consumer brands) confirmed for a campaign announcement in October 2021. Remaining task activities that involve managing partner relationships and engaging additional partners, as appropriate, will continue through the duration of the project until December 2023. 

Task 2: Lead campaign spokesperson and influencer engagement and management.

The subcontractor will be responsible for finalizing a tiered list of recommended campaign spokespeople and influencers, informed by an audit of media, brands and other campaigns that appeal to the campaign target audiences, and informed by the subcontractor’s own connections and experiences with marketing to the target audiences. The recommendations should include ideal prospects for two lead campaign spokespeople (one male lead and one female lead) who will headline campaign creative and integrated marketing activations, as well as levels of additional campaign ambassadors who are connected to the cause of encouraging healthy living/cardiovascular disease prevention and would support campaign marketing by participating in earned media activations, distributing campaign content on their channels and being featured in campaign content, where appropriate. CDC Foundation will provide an initial list compiled during the campaign strategy development phase as a starting point for the completion of this task. The subcontractor will be responsible for helping to finalize the campaign spokesperson/influencer strategy, supporting outreach to engage campaign spokespeople/influencers, managing spokesperson/influencer relationships and managing all aspects (including planning and scheduling logistics) of spokesperson/influencer activations. Timing: For this task, the campaign spokesperson planning should be completed within the first two months after the subcontractor’s selection. Outreach to engage lead spokesperson prospects should be initiated within the first three months after the subcontractor’s selection, with the goal of having the two leading campaign spokespeople confirmed for a campaign announcement in October 2021. Remaining task activities that involve managing campaign spokespeople and engaging additional campaign influencers, as appropriate, will continue through the duration of the project until December 2023.

Task 3: Lead strategic public relations planning and implementation to drive earned media coverage.

The subcontractor will be responsible for implementing annual public relations strategic plans to drive earned media coverage beginning with the campaign launch in Fall 2021 and driving year-round awareness and engagement at key pulse points through the conclusion of the campaign in December 2023. The subcontractor will be required to leverage their relevant experience to offer strategic recommendations for creating news that drives consumer and trade (public health, health care, marketing and public relations) media coverage even when there is no official hard news content (e.g., science/data releases, official announcements, etc.). The subcontractor should have strong expertise with (and relationships for) securing quality coverage in national consumer media. The subcontractor will be responsible for developing any content required to implement the strategic PR plan, including thought leadership, social media, press release, spokesperson briefings, media pitches or any other content deliverables required according to the strategy.

The subcontractor will also be responsible for providing recommendations for and managing the operational activities required to support a year-round public relations plan, including:

– Maintaining up-to-date lists of targeted media contacts that are suited to reaching and engaging target audiences.

– Conducting frequent media audits to assess media coverage trends and pitch opportunities.

– Implementing routine media monitoring to track and report on campaign-related media coverage.

– Providing reach, engagement and quality metrics as required for a monthly campaign dashboard.

Timing: For this task, the 2021 public relations plan should be completed within the first three months after the subcontractor’s selection (presented as part of an overarching campaign integrated marketing communications plan), with the goal of initiating earned media outreach to secure media coverage of the phase one campaign announcement in October 2021. This plan should also include proposed strategies and tactics for securing media coverage of the phase two campaign announcement in January 2022. Remaining public relations planning and implementation tasks will continue through the duration of the project until December 2023.

Task 4: Lead grassroots activation strategy and implementation to drive online and in-person engagement.

The subcontractor will be responsible for developing and implementing a national grassroots activation strategy designed to engage target audiences and spark their interest in taking steps toward a heart healthy lifestyle

– reaching them in a variety of places where they live, work, play, pray and seek medical care. The emphasis on this task should be on integrating campaign messages and/or content in trusted channels in a way that is nondisruptive

– i.e., incorporated as part of an existing entertaining, informative, uplifting or value-added experience. As part of this task, the subcontractor will be responsible for both strategy and implementation, including:

– Performing an assessment of recent trends in grassroots engagement and activism, including assessing strategies, tactics and best practices outside of public health.

– Developing innovative ideas for unique concepts that can be activated through online and offline experiences; align to the assets and priorities of partners; and bring to life the core campaign creative concept and key messages (currently in development). 

– Identifying and cultivating relationships with existing grassroots activation channels, events or experiences that would deliver meaningful and brand-relevant access to campaign target audiences. – Managing all details required to implement grassroots activation ideas, from content development and talent engagement to partner activation and all associated logistics. Timing: For this task, the grassroots activation plan should be completed within the first three months after the subcontractor’s selection (presented as part of an overarching campaign integrated marketing communications plan), with the goal of launching initial grassroots activation tactics as part of the phase two campaign announcement starting January 2022. Remaining grassroots activation planning and implementation tasks will continue through the duration of the project until December 2023.

Task 5: Integrated campaign project management and oversight of omnichannel consumer experience.

The prime subcontractor on this scope of work will be responsible for holistic integrated Upstream Campaign project management – overseeing the seamless integration of inputs from all vendors – ensuring strategy and content alignment for an omnichannel consumer experience. Upon selection, the subcontractor will provide recommendations for the optimal processes, resources, documentation and reports for facilitating seamless operations across all campaign workstreams and vendors. During the course of the project, the subcontractor will be responsible for managing all operational tools and tasks required to sustain timely communication and collaboration across all contributing partners and vendors; consistent campaign brand and content strategy; and seamless omnichannel consumer experience. Timing: For this task, the integrated campaign operations plan should be completed within the first two months after the subcontractor’s selection, with the goal of implementing integrated campaign project management processes (in collaboration with campaign partners and other vendors) by July 2021. Integrated campaign project management activities will continue through the duration of the project until December 2023.

Due Date:

April 30, 2021


Shanavian Houser Program Officer – Million Hearts

Relevant agencies to consider include Alison Brod PR and Magrino PR.

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