Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jul 2002
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2002 Crain Communications Inc
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Surprise Move Comes Despite Criminal Investigation

WASHINGTON ( -- WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide is
keeping the White House anti-drug advertising account in a major
surprise that could draw congressional criticism.

The announcement was made by the Department of Defense; the U.S. Navy
handled the technical details of administering the $150 million-a-year
contract for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The Partnership for Drug Free America continues to do most of the
creative for the campaign.

Congressional pressure

While Ogilvy's research and media buying work for the drug program has
drawn praise from the ONDCP, the drug office has been under
congressional pressure to drop Ogilvy surrounding billing issues on
the media planning and buying account that resulted in civil and
crminal charges.

Ogilvy didn't have a required government accounting system in place
when it won the account in 1998, and it eventually settled for $1.8
million government charges that it overbilled the government for 1999

Criminal investigation

A criminal investigation looking into alleged changes Ogilvy made to
employee time sheets used to support the bills is continuing.

Ogilvy put a new accounting system in place, but with the ad agency's
billings under attack from several legislators, the drug office put
the account in review.

Besides Ogilvy, the other ad teams pitching were Interpublic Group of
Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York, pitching with
Initiative Media; Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York,
partnered with Universal McCann; Cordiant Communications Group's Bates
Worldwide, New York, bidding with Zenith Media; and Publicis Groupe's
Saatchi & Saatchi, also bidding with Zenith. Each of the teams also
had paretnerships with agencies specializing in minority marketing.
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