Calif. Lottery Assigns African American Business

As the review for the California Lottery’s general-market ad business gets under way, client officials have found a shop for their African American account.

Lagrant Communications in Los Angeles last week was named the apparent successful bidder for the four-year, $4 million account, said Terri Fontenette, director of business and community relations for the lottery. The contract can be extended up to two additional years.

The 17-person integrated communications shop edged out incumbent Carol H. Williams Advertising in Oakland, Calif., which has handled lottery projects for the last eight to 10 years, and The Chisholm-Mingo Group/Sankofa Communications in Los Angeles, Fontenette said.

This is the lottery’s first African American contract. In the past, the business was subcontracted by the winner of the general-market account.

It is also the first time that 12-year-old Lagrant has won a government contract on its own, rather than through a subcontract, said agency president and CEO Kim Hunter. The shop, which offers advertising and public relations services to African American, Hispanic and general markets, also works with such clients as CompUSA, Federated Department Stores, Southern California Edison and Verizon.

On July 1, Lagrant will take over creative, media planning and newspaper media buying. Initiative Media in Los Angeles will do the buys for radio and outdoor, Hunter said.

“The strategy is really simple—to raise the level of awareness by targeting the African American population in the state of California, with the intent of purchasing lottery tickets and, particularly, SuperLotto Plus,” said Hunter. He said the work will aim to be “culturally relevant and culturally sensitive to motivate a behavior change.”

The lottery’s past efforts have primarily been print and radio ads tagged, “I love playing this game,” Fontenette said.

Meanwhile, the lottery held a vendors’ conference last week in the review for its general-market business, worth $125 million over five years. Proposals are due May 13.