The semi-finalists are: Bartle Bogle Hegarty,
Cut from the review were Wolf Group, New York; Cramer Krasslet, Chicago; Marc USA, Pittsburgh; and Fogarty Klein Monroe, Houston.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston was disqualified. A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said bidding rules in the review stipulated only certain people working for the state could be contacted by agencies. A subcontractor of Hill Holliday's broke that rule. The spokeswoman said she wasn't sure whether Hill Holliday even knew about the contact, only that the rule was broken.
"We have not been contacted regarding the reported disqualification due to the actions of one of our subcontractors," said Will Keyser, vice president for corporate communications at Hill Holliday. "Depending on the circumstances, an appeal is not out of the question."
The consultant is Pile & Co., Boston.
The three semifinalists will be given a small project by the end of the week. Presentations will be held in late January.
The funds for the ad campaign are from a $51 million settlement that Ford Motor Co. agreed to pay after all 50 states sued the for false advertising of its popular Ford Explorer SUV. Florida's attorney general's office led the group. The state said $30 million of the settlement is for the national ad blitz.