California Lottery: Fax Fiasco Leaves FCB Fuming

18 March 2003

The losing agency in the bitterly disputed review of the California Lottery account may appeal after discovering it lost because of a fax.

After over a year of searching, the Lottery last week declared McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles the victor [WAMN: 13-Mar-03], but the decision may be challenged by losing finalist Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide in San Francisco. Incredibly, this would be the third time in the same review that a winner has been announced only for a losing shop to challenge the decision.

However, unlike previous challenges (by Grey Worldwide and DDB Worldwide), FCB’s fury at the choice of McCann has nothing to do with the details of opponents’ bids. Instead, the agency is angry that it apparently lost the account on the most minor of technicalities.

For insiders have let slip that the beaten shop was rejected not because of McCann’s brilliant creative ideas or more favourable media costs, but because FCB sent its paperwork by fax.

It transpires that the original request for proposals insisted that hard copies of agencies’ responses be sent to the Lottery’s offices. McCann-Erickson hand-delivered its bid document accordingly, but FCB – the front runner until last week – chose to use fax.

FCB is expected to challenge the decision, arguing that use of fax is not a serious violation of lottery rules.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff