FCB Lost California Lottery Account Over Technicality

LOS ANGELES A technicality is what cost Foote, Cone & Belding the California Lottery account, sources said.

The San Francisco shop was one of four finalists asked to rebid the media portion of the five-year, $125 million account, but was disqualified because it faxed and e-mailed its cost proposal, but did not submit a hard-copy version, according to sources.

While the addendum to the RFP regarding cost proposals did not specify how to submit proposals, the RFP issued on April 4, 2002, stated that the lottery would not accept fax or electronic transmissions.

McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles was named the winner earlier this week, pending approval from the lottery commission. The two agencies were the only shops to submit revised cost proposals. The other two finalists-Los Angeles agencies DDB and Grey, the incumbent-declined to participate, stating that the scoring methodology favored FCB.

One shop, DDB, has already filed a protest with the lottery over its decision to rebid the media account. FCB is preparing to file an intent to protest its disqualification, and Grey is also considering a protest, sources said.

Agency officials and lottery representatives declined comment.

McCann is the third shop to have been selected as the winner of the account. The two previous awards were overturned following protests. DDB was selected as the winner at the start of 2002, but Grey protested, claiming that its competitors did not provide adequate information about media partners. The account was put back in review and FCB was named the winner, but following a protest from DDB over media costs submitted by FCB and its pitch partner, Initiative Media in Los Angeles, the lottery chose to rebid the media portion of the account.