The California Lottery Commission — which took an unprecedented three years to finalize the selection of its agency partners following a tumultuous review process that concluded in 2004 — is preparing to issue another proposal request.
The lottery commission’s current contract with Omnicom Group’s BBDO West ends in January 2011 and a competition to award the account will take place this year, though timing details haven’t been determined, a lottery representative said.
Incumbent BBDO West is the incumbent, partnered with Omnicom sibling PHD in San Francisco on media.
The California Lottery Commission spent nearly $35 million on ads last year and nearly $100 million in major measured media from 2006-09, according to Nielsen.
The lottery’s recent review history is complex and convoluted to say the least. In 2001, Omnicom’s DDB was awarded the business before a protest by WPP Group’s Grey prompted the commission to put the business back into review. Interpublic Group’s FCB (now part of Draftfcb) won the business next, but DDB contested media costs submitted by FCB and its partner Initiative.
The commission then rebid the media portion of the account, which IPG’s McCann Erickson won, but the decision was rescinded again over disclosure issues. More tumult followed until ultimately, in April 2004, BBDO and PHD were awarded the assignment and have held it ever since. BBDO West in San Francisco is the lead shop on the business.
A BBDO rep said, “We’re proud of the partnership we’ve had with the lottery over the past six years and look forward to continuing that relationship.”
A lottery rep offered scant details of the upcoming process, insisting that most elements of the pitch have not been finalized and that no official information is presently available.
The account, like most pieces of state business, is mandated to go into review periodically.
Sales have slipped in each of the past few fiscal years, totaling $2.96 billion in 2009 after hitting an all-time high of $3.59 billion in ’06, before the recession took hold.
Sources said an RFP is likely to be made available on the lottery commission’s site, and that the process could begin as soon as this month. It is also likely that shops with a significant California presence and a strong digital component will be qualified to pitch.