Omnicom's Alcone Marketing Group, independent David & Goliath and Interpublic's McCann Worldgroup have emerged as finalists in the California Lottery Commission review, the client has confirmed. Independent Ignited and Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney did not advance.
Primary incumbent BBDO was eliminated prior to the semifinal round.
All of the contenders are pitching with media partners, with bids led by their California offices. Alcone is a roster shop, already handling the lottery's promotional chores.
The client spent $35 million on ads last year and nearly $100 million in major media from 2006-09, per Nielsen. The new contract will run for five years with a two-year extension option.
A winner is slated to be named in late October.
Beyond confirming the cuts, lottery officials have declined comment on specifics of the competition.
BBDO, which partnered with Omnicom media shop PHD, originally won a three-year contract in 2004, and subsequently received three one-year extensions. The agency created a campaign focusing on winners using their windfalls on good works rather than spending it on themselves. One commercial, for instance, showed a lottery winner who built a large baseball stadium just so his family could play together at their reunion. The contracts for BBDO and PHD expire Jan. 31, 2011.
For its latest fiscal year, the lottery notched an $85 million sales increase to $3.04 billion, the first improvement in the past four years. Sales hit an all-time high of $3.59 billion in '06, before the recession took hold.
The lottery's recent review history has been troubled. In 2001, Omnicom's DDB was awarded the business before a protest by WPP's Grey prompted the commission to put the business back into review. IPG's FCB (now part of Draftfcb) won the assignment 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The commission then rebid the media portion of the account, which IPG's McCann Erickson won, but that decision was rescinded over disclosure issues. Ultimately, in April 2004, BBDO and PHD were awarded the assignment.