Calif. Lottery Contenders Accuse Each Other

LOS ANGELES Two agencies that participated in the review for the California Lottery’s five-year, $125 million account this week submitted affidavits to lottery director Joan Wilson claiming that they had been asked to work in cooperation with some of the other finalists to impact the outcome of the review.

The affidavits, filed by tentative winner McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles, as well as Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, were submitted as part of a response to the March 4 protest filed by DDB in Los Angeles. DDB’s protest argued the lottery’s decision to re-bid the media portion of the account.

The affadavit from McCann-Erickson evp and general manager Ian McGregor claimed that McGregor had been asked by Grey president John Crosson to join DDB and Grey in refusing to submit new cost bids, which he rejected. McCann’s response also notes that DDB and Grey’s actions “reflect a calculated effort” to undermine the RFP in order to “illegitimately skew the outcome of a public contract bid process.”

FCB’s affadavit, from Ian Beavis, who resigned as the shop’s president and CEO this week, stated that consultant Mike Marsak approached FCB two weeks before the lottery issued its revised cost sheet on February 25. The statement also claims that Marsak said he had obtained DDB and Grey’s authorization for him to propose to the lottery that he “organize a binding arrangement” with the lottery to determine the winner of the account and to provide some compensation to the losing shops. According to Beavis’ statement, he refused the request.

Crosson denied that he had an arrangement with Marsak and added: “I categorically deny the other accusation, but I will not discuss this protest process in the press.”

Marsak said that he had preliminary discussions with four finalists. “I had an idea to solve the problem and I tried to get a consensus among the agencies, but I didn’t get a consensus so I dropped it,” Marsak said. He declined to comment on what his plan entailed, but said that he never spoke with the lottery.

Lottery representatives declined to comment. DDB officials could not immediately be reached.

The lottery is expected to respond to DDB’s protest by April 22.