DDB Threatens Suit

The ongoing battle over the California Lottery’s five-year, $125 million account took another twist last week. Lawyers for DDB fired off a letter to the lottery, disputing the client’s plan to rebid the media portion of the account and threatening legal action, sources said.

The six-page letter from DDB lawyer Rich ard Pachter to lottery director Joan Wilson charges that lottery officials ignored the central issue in DDB’s protest filed in August: whether Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco submitted “materially inaccurate information” in response to the RFP, said sources.

DDB Los Angeles and FCB were named the apparent successful bidders in separate reviews the lottery conducted this year. Following DDB’s protest, the lottery said last month it would solicit new bids for media costs from the two, and from the other Los Angeles finalists, incumbent Grey and McCann-Erickson.

According to the letter, obtained by Adweek, the rebid delays resolution of the issue and will “ensure that there will be another protest … and ultimately lead to a judicial proceeding challenging the failure to disqualify FCB.”

DDB also repeated its request for an independent auditor to analyze FCB’s submission. Only if that audit reveals that it complied with RFP requirements should FCB be allowed to keep the contract, the letter says.

FCB held a sizable lead in the media scores of the last review. If media is rebid, the letter points out, FCB could increase its compensation demands without fear of losing.

This is the latest of many DDB letters to the lottery, said sources, adding that the decision to rebid only media is not consistent with state guidelines. All parties could not be reached or declined comment.