Four Connecticut agencies have made it to the finals in the state's $5.6 million lottery review.
Eight-year incumbent Cronin & Co., Glastonbury, will face off against Hartford-based O'Neal & Prelle and Mason & Madison and Mascola Advertising, both of New Haven.
"It's a good competition," said Cronin creative director Steve Wolfberg. "The lottery's going to have a tough choice."
Seven members of the semipublic lottery corporation will visit the shops to hear presentations Nov. 18 and 19. A winner will be announced by Dec. 1.
The four contenders said they started preparing before the finalist list was announced last week. "There's a ton of information that needs to be gathered," said Bill Ervin, O'Neal & Prelle's chairman. His agency, which created the first Connecticut lottery ads in the mid-1970s, is going all out for the account because of its importance to the state. "It's interwoven into the Connecticut landscape," Ervin said.
Mascola considers itself the new kid on the block and plans to offer a bold alternative to the current Cronin campaign, which features the tagline, "Is this fun or what?"
"It would be a very different direction for the lottery to take," promised Mascola public relations director Mike Kuczkowski.
Mason & Madison executive vice president Harry Viens said only that the lottery is "a mature business."
"I think it is going to take a lot of mature thinking to make an impact" on the review committee, Viens said.
Eliminated from the competition were out-of-state agencies The Star Group of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Advanced Results Marketing of Boston.
The Star Group had teamed up with DePhillipo Group in Natick, Mass., which is run by former Massachusetts Lottery executive director Sam DePhillipo. They planned to open a Connecticut office together if they won.