Six Agencies Left in Lurch After Spending Big Bucks to Prepare Pitches

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a blow to six agencies that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pitch the U.S. Army for its advertising account, the government today canceled the long-running review, according to executives familiar with the matter.
Photo: U.S. Army
The Army's search for a new wartime recruitment advertising strategy has been put on hold.

The Army intends to restart the bidding process.

Starting over
The government had originally intended to announce a review winner last December, but decided to delay the award for six months. Executives familiar with the matter said the Army today told agenices that "at this time, Government anticipates re-soliciting for the 'U.S. Army Recruiting and Advertising' program," in a memo distributed to the contenders.

"It is further expected that an award of the re-solicitation would be on or about the end of September 2005," according to the memo, from Kathy J. Dobeck, contractor for Defense Contracting Command at the Department of the Army.

The Army said it ended the review because of "inconsistencies in the evaluation approach," but offered no other details except to say that a new solicitation would be out shortly.

The agencies involved in the canceled review included the incumbent, Leo Burnett USA, part of Publicis Groupe; Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide; WPP Group's Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather and Grey Worldwide; and Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide.

The contract runs for one year with the possibility of being extended for four more years.

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Jim Arndorfer, Matthew Creamer and Ira Teinowitz contributed to this report.