Minnesota Department of Health REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL Tobacco Cessation Marketing Services

• Responses must be received not later than 4:00 PM, Central Time, May 8, 2024


1. Procurement Overview and Goals.

The Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH” or “State”) requests proposals for a contractor to manage the brand

identity for Quit PartnerTM, Minnesota’s statewide commercial tobacco cessation service, as well as a promotional

campaign to raise awareness of the service and encourage its use among Minnesotans who use commercial tobacco

products, as authorized by Minnesota Statute §144.397: Statewide Tobacco Cessation Services.1 The 2019 Minnesota

Legislature dedicated funding for the implementation of statewide tobacco cessation services to offer Minnesotans helpnin quitting commercial tobacco use.

All references to “tobacco” in this RFP refer to commercial, retail tobacco products (including cigarettes, cigars andncigarillos, shisha, smokeless tobacco, and electronic nicotine delivery systems like e-cigarettes), and not traditionalntobacco that is used for spiritual or ceremonial purposes.

The selected Contractor will manage the brand identity for the cessation service, as well as a comprehensive marketing

campaign that includes paid, earned, and digital media. The campaign should build upon the strengths and strategies of

both past and current statewide and national commercial tobacco cessation campaigns and introduce innovative tactics

to reach Minnesotans who use commercial tobacco. The campaign should also employ culturally competent strategiesnto attract and engage Minnesotans most disparately impacted by the harms of commercial tobacco use.


Commercial tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease, killing over 6,300 Minnesotans eachnyear and costing the state more than $3 billion in excess health care costs. Public health efforts have driven downnsmoking rates, but 574,000 adults in Minnesota still smoke and need help quitting.

According to 2022 data from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the age-adjusted adult smoking ratenin Minnesota is 13.3%. That represents a 31% decrease since 2011. However, not all communities in Minnesota havenrealized the same decline, and some populations continue to be disproportionately impacted. The following chartncontains a summary of current adult smoking rates in Minnesota, overall and broken down by specific populations, that are a priority focus for MDH. Populations disproportionally impacted include but are not limited to African Americann(i.e., menthol use) and American Indian communities, Minnesotans experiencing behavioral health issues, and othernpopulations based on education, income, and geography.


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*Defined as participants who reported 14+ poor mental health days during the last 30 days.

Use of electronic nicotine delivery system (also known as e-cigarettes or vapes) among Minnesota adults and youth is substantial. It adds to the harms of nicotine addiction and increases the need for access to cessation services. 2.1% of adults and 21.5% of young adults (aged 18-24) use e-cigarettes (currently some days or every day) (BRFSS 2021).

According to the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey (MYTS 2023), 13.9% of 9th through 12th graders use e-cigarettes (past 30 days).

Quit PartnerTM Background

Launched in April 2020, Quit Partner (QuitPartnerMN.com or 1-800-QUIT-NOW) is a family of programs created to help Minnesota residents quit commercial tobacco. Quit Partner offers free services to all Minnesota residents who use any form of commercial tobacco, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes/vapes and chew. There are many support options and resources so that Minnesota residents can find a way to quit that works best for them. Free support includes phone and web coaching, text and email programs, and quit medications like patches, gum or lozenges delivered to your door.

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Quit Partner Branding

The Quit Partner brand and visual identity was developed in early 2020 and included collaboration with MDH team members, grantees, and other diverse community stakeholders. Stakeholders were invited to provide reactions and  feedback to brand options and included in a roundtable-like discussion.

In addition, brand options were tested with a representative sample of Minnesota adult commercial tobacco users across the state via an online survey and a separate, yet related online survey that was shared with MDH’s community partners. The results of both online surveys informed the final brand identity for Quit Partner.


MDH’s agency mission is to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans. MDH therefore works, as directed by the applicable statutes, to reduce the harms of commercial tobacco by reducing youth access to commercial tobacco, eliminating secondhand smoke exposure, increasing access to cessation resources, and addressing tobacco related disparities. Evidence-based cessation services are a core component of a comprehensive tobacco control program. MDH is dedicated to offering a statewide quitline and an array of cessation services that are accessible to all commercial tobacco users.

MDH seeks to engage as many Minnesota commercial tobacco users in the quitting process as possible, with the ultimate goals of:

1) increasing the current 2% quitline reach of Minnesota adult commercial tobacco users;

2) increasing quit attempts population-wide, and most importantly within priority populations listed in Commercial Tobacco Use Data by Population (PDF) at Commercial Tobacco Use Among Minnesota Adults (state.mn.us) to address disparities;

3) fostering successful quitting;

4) driving down adult commercial tobacco use prevalence in the state; and

5) offering youth and young adults newly addicted to nicotine clinically appropriate services and support.

2. Sample Tasks and Deliverables.

Objectives of the Marketing Campaign

Cessation services are an evidence-based means of helping commercial tobacco users quit. MDH provides free and easily accessible statewide commercial tobacco cessation services through Quit Partner to Minnesotans who are uninsured or underinsured and who experience barriers accessing these services. The objectives of the marketing campaign are:

• Maintain or increase brand awareness among priority audiences for Quit Partner cessation services.

• Maintain or increase new visitors to the website for Quit Partner.

• Promote and motivate priority audiences to try Quit Partner to quit commercial tobacco.

Scope of Work

1. General Tasks

A. Stay current with emerging commercial tobacco control-related topics, emerging commercial tobacco use trends, and new tobacco use data, and be knowledgeable about the following information:

• Commercial tobacco use rates and disparities in Minnesota

• The importance of cessation interventions as part of comprehensive statewide commercial tobacco  control

• Barriers to cessation for Minnesota’s communities that still use commercial tobacco

• Best practices in health communications for commercial tobacco prevention and control

• Past campaigns promoting cessation services in Minnesota

• MDH’s mission and values

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B. Stay current and adhere to the state of Minnesota’s accessibility requirements. State law requires state agencies, including their contractors, to adhere to federal standards for accessible documents and websites.

Ensuring all content meets accessibility standards.

C. Coordinate a kick-off meeting with MDH to discuss and develop a table of deliverables, associated activities, frequency, and due dates.

D. Coordinate approvals of timelines, work plans, media plans, creative assets, and all other deliverables with MDH. All collateral and assets developed as part of this work will need to be approved by MDH. MDH may take up to five business days to complete approvals.

2. Brand Management

A. Use surveys, focus groups, competitive scan of other state quitline branding strategies, and other marketing research strategies to determine the brand equity of Quit Partner and track the historical change since the program launch.

B. Continue to build and maintain brand identity for Quit Partner. Branding should be science-based and culturally informed and follow the tenets of social marketing best practices.

• Collaborate with MDH and the Cessation Services Contractor to ensure all consumer-facing materials and media related to this work are branded appropriately.

3. Campaign Development and Implementation

A. Develop and implement a campaign to raise awareness and promote Quit Partner and any youth-focused commercial tobacco cessation services. The campaign should be designed to engage Minnesotans who use commercial tobacco, encourage quit attempts, and increase use of these services.

B. Develop a plan to use existing, relevant creative assets from similar statewide or national tobacco prevention or cessation campaigns.

C. Develop and produce effective creative assets that helps change social norms around tobacco and promotes quitting. This includes targeted, culturally informed materials to reach populations most disparately impacted by the harms of commercial tobacco.

D. Develop a plan for formative testing and developmental input for campaign materials with diverse target audiences.

E. Develop, implement, and measure content and digital marketing strategies to support the campaign to ensure relevancy in diverse target audiences.

F. Develop and execute public relations to promote the statewide cessation services, including event support, including but not limited to staffing and logistics of events noted in the work plan.

G. Plan, negotiate and buy statewide media to effectively reach diverse target audiences and maximize budgets. This may include broadcast, print and out-of-home, digital, and other innovative or nontraditional media to reach populations most disparately impacted by the harms of commercial tobacco.

H. Provide strong management and outstanding client service, including, but not limited to, detailed billings, creative briefs, weekly status reports, production timelines and calendars, and service reports to record decisions and next steps.

I. Participate in campaign evaluations and reporting as directed by MDH.

J. Provide access to staff in the company that are well-established and senior, when necessary.

4. Digital Media Management

A. Serve as an administrator of the MDH quitline website.

B. Develop, update, and manage content and design of the website in partnership with MDH.

C. Follow best practices and MDH guidelines to create an inclusive and accessible user experience for all digital content.

D. Track and evaluate web analytics to optimize performance and provide strategic direction.

E. Collaborate with MDH and the Cessation Services Contractor to ensure seamless user experience between quit line website and cessation services.

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