Miami’s Crispin Porter & Bogusky has seen an account it was about to win snatched from its grasp at the last minute by legal action.

The business in question is an anti-smoking campaign from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, a provider of healthcare with over 2 million members. Worth between $80 million (€81m; £52m) and $110m in billings, the account had been put up for review.

The campaign was to be funded from the $412m granted to the Blue Cross under an agreement between Minnesota and the tobacco companies (part of the 1998 master settlement between the industry and 46 states).

However, a lawsuit filed last month by Blue Cross members argues that all $412m should be shared out between the healthcare firm’s subscribers, rather than spent on ad campaigns.

Consequently, the Blue Cross – uncertain if it would have the funds to launch the campaign – had to scrap the review before an agency was appointed, though it revealed it was planning to select Crispin.

“We are extremely disappointed that we must halt this process,” declared Blue Cross chief medical officer Bill Gold, “but we will not be spending any of the proceeds from our landmark tobacco settlement until this recent lawsuit is resolved.”

Crispin may yet pick up other assignments not funded by the settlement payout. Other shops in the aborted review include BBDO Worldwide and Blue Cross agency of record Carmichael Lynch.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff