O&M Retains White House Drug Biz Despite Overcharging Row

05 July 2002

Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in New York will continue to handle the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s $150 million (€153m; £98m) media planning and buying duties – an account it seemed destined to lose after allegations it overbilled.

The reappointment is a considerable surprise, after a former O&M staffer claimed the shop had altered timesheets and overcharged the ONDCP for work undertaken in 1999 [WAMN: 05-Oct-00].

O&M rejected the charges, arguing that irregularities in its billing reflected unfamiliarity with the government’s accounting procedure. The agency, which subsequently changed its accounting practices, eventually settled the row with the Justice Department at a cost of $1.8m.

Although O&M’s work on the account was praised, the government body put the duties up for review under pressure from legislators in Congress.

Participating agencies who failed to dislodge O&M include teams of Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide and Initiative Media; McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Universal McCann; Bates Worldwide and Zenith Media; and Saatchi & Saatchi and Zenith Media.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff