Texas Lottery Mixes Picks, Nixes

Names Finalists for General Account but Cancels Minority Review
DALLAS–In a surprise move, the Texas Lottery Commission cancelled its minority advertising competition on the same day it narrowed the review for its $30-40 million general market account to four candidates.
Agencies that made oral presentations last week and remain in contention are: Fogarty Klein & Partners and McCann-Erickson Southwest, both in Houston; Ogilvy & Mather in Dallas; and Regian & Wilson of Fort Worth, Texas.
But 21 other agencies that competed for the minority advertising portion of the business were stunned to receive a two-sentence fax on June 16, summarily cancelling the request for proposals.
“We’re not happy campers,” said Kay Williams, president of KWGC in Dallas. Her partner and vice president, Carolyn Cole, added, “We put so much work and effort into the thing. We were up here on a Saturday morning collating the book and it literally wrapped around the whole agency . . . To just get a letter [in response], I’m disgusted more than anything because I think it’s a lack of respect for the agency’s time.”
Heberto Gutierrez, president of Inventiva in San Antonio, agreed: “Obviously our agency put in days and nights for three solid weeks into responding to the minority request for proposals. It was a pretty big blow to our team that we’re not even getting a chance to be evaluated.
“I would just like a better explanation,” Gutierrez said. “We worked on Mother’s Day and we’re Hispanic. That day is sacred!”
There may be an opportunity for the agencies to pitch again. According to a copy of the fax obtained by Adweek, the Texas Lottery said it “expects to issue a new procurement for minority market advertising services within the next three weeks.” Lottery officials could not be reached for comment at press time.
This year was the first time the Texas Lottery chose to issue a separate minority marketing bid. Although no budget figures were given, industry sources estimated the value of the contract to be $4-6 million.
Breaking out the minority portion allowed smaller agencies to participate in the process. Those shops were prevented from pursuing the general market business because of minimum employee and billings requirements. Despite chafing at the wasted time and expense, most said they will try again.
“The idea from our perspective is to sit tight and see what happens,” said Gutierrez.