Grey Protests Lottery Decision

LOS ANGELES — Grey’s office here has lodged a formal complaint with the California State Lottery over its handling of the review for media and creative duties on its four-year, $100 million account.

Contract administrator Rose Marie Laplante-Olvera confirmed that the state received the protest, but declined to comment on its content.

DDB Los Angeles edged out Grey, which has handled the account for more than four years. DDB scored 85.31 points out of a possible 100, while Grey had 84.06, said Laplante-Olvera. “Costs [including markup rates and media] really seemed to affect the final scores,” she said.

Other review finalists included Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, pitching with Carat, Santa Monica, and San Francisco agencies Foote, Cone & Belding and TBWA\Chiat\Day. No other complaints have been filed, said Laplante-Olvera.

One source said the dispute stems from stipulations in an addendum to the RFP that state that no vendor may have an interest in, or its name on, more than one bid, or be part of more than one joint venture. It also states that “a parent and subsidiary (or holding company and ‘held’ companies) may not submit separate bids.”

When finalists were named late last year, sources questioned whether the addendum should preclude two Omnicom shops, DDB and TBWA\C\D, from pitching, and whether both shops should be permitted to use OMD for media buying.

John Crosson, Grey president and COO, declined comment. Rick Carpenter, president of DDB Los Angeles, said he had not seen the protest and referred questions to lottery officials.

The state has 15 business days from receipt of the protest, which was filed on Jan. 16, to resolve the issue.

Grey’s protest follows at least two other controversial state-contract awards. In November, Carat contended California mishandled its five-year, $125 million anti-smoking account by allowing Ground Zero to take sole control of media buying. A state commission decided not to act.

In July, Riester-Robb in Phoenix challenged the Arizona Department of Health Services over its anti-smoking review process. Crosstown shop E.B. Lane Marketing Communications held on to the win.

-with Justin M. Norton