Calif. Commission Warns Omnicom Agencies of Antitrust Violations

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- The California Lottery today decided that one media company could represent two sibling agencies in the review for its $100 million advertising contract.

In an attachment to its request for proposal, the Lottery said a single media-buying agency may join with more than one advertising agency in submitting separate proposals.

The issue of media buying was raised at a Nov. 21 mandatory bidders conference held at the Lottery's headquarters in Sacramento by Rick Carpenter, president of Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles, and Mike Harris, director of strategy for sibling shop TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco. Omnicom's media-buying arm, OMD, works with both agencies.

Collaboration and antitrust
At the session, Lottery officials expressed concerns about "collaborating" among bid participants and warned the bidders about antitrust violations.

Eleven shops have notified the Lottery of their intention to bid on the Lottery's contract. In addition to DDB and TBWA, a third Omnicom shop, BBDO West, is participating in the review. Interpublic Group of Cos. has three contenders and WPP Group has two.

The apparent successful bidder is expected to be named Feb. 25. The decision is subject to approval by the Lottery Commission at its March meeting.

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