Other finalists in the review include Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles, and TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco; WPP Group's YR Advertising, San Francisco and independent Sacramento shop Mering & Associates.
Susan Kossack, the department's advertising director, said the finalists "were very close on creative" but Grey pulled ahead due to its "great media negotiation" skills. The contract is for a $45 million one-year campaign with an option for an extension for three additional years, she said.
Grey had the account on an interim basis when the state fell into an energy crisis earlier this year. It developed a campaign themed "Flex Your Power" urging consumers to help avoid blackouts by washing full loads of laundry and running vacuum cleaners at night after peak usage periods.
Ms. Kossack said that campaign has resulted in savings of 1% to 15% month by month and year over year, and that the "Flex Your Power" tagline will continue in a campaign starting this December.
The win brings billings for the Los Angeles office to $175 million, up 25% from the previous year, said the shop's president and chief operating officer, John Crosson. Other clients include Mars' Pedigree dog food; Park Place Entertainment, owner of Ceasar's Palace and other casino resorts; and Roman Meal Bread. The agency also will defend its California lottery account, which has $100 million in billings over four years, now up for a mandatory review.
Mr. Crosson credited the agency's growth with a new management team, including the appointment of Peter Mooney as co-president and creative director.