CALIF. LOTTERY SEEKS GREATER RESPONSE TO 3RD AD RFP

Letter Sent to Agencies Asks More to Consider Pitch

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Ad Agencies that did not participate in the two failed rounds of the California Lottery's tumultuous advertising review are being
Read the Letter:
FULL TEXT OF CALIF. LOTTERY AGENCY LETTER

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urged to reconsider and to pitch in the third go-round of the process.

$125 million contract
The lottery's five-year, $125 million advertising contract has been the object of ferocious competition on the West Coast, and a threatened legal challenge has thus far resulted in the last two preliminary decisions being thrown out. The lottery is expected to issue the third formal request for proposals in late summer or fall.

The lottery "would like to hear from you," wrote the lottery's marketing director, Jim Hasegawa, in a letter that began arriving at about 30 agencies earlier this week. "We would like to understand why you did not elect to submit a proposal [in the first two rounds of the review]. In particular, we want to know if there were any requirements from past RFP documents that were extremely burdensome, time consuming, unclear or not relevant in your opinion."

'Our side of the story'
"I am sure that you have heard about or read something in the trade press about the California Lottery and its advertising agency review," the letter continued. "I would like to tell our side of the story on what happened in the past, solicit your input about our prior RFP's and encourage you to participate in our upcoming agency review."

Mr. Hasegawa explained in the letter that the disqualification of Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles, which won the first review, was based on "stipulated strict disclosure requirements." He indicated that the gaming agency has no choice but to enforce such requirements but suggested that ad agencies might consider launching a California voter initiative to change that law.

Defending the process
He also defended the lottery process as being similar to that of other consumer products companies and said his office was seeking "a partner with strong strategic thinking" and "innovative creative that is on strategy and inventive media planning and media buying that can stretch budgets."

Working with the 4A's
The lottery also has begun to work with the Jerry Gibbons, executive vice president for the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

"I am talking with them and offering suggestions on how to make the process work better for everybody and the relationship, too, once they select an agency," he said. Mr. Gibbons worked with the state's health services agency in an effort to ease regulations around the pitch for the state's anti-smoking ad efforts.

Lottery officials did not return calls seeking further comment by press time.

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