The eleven contenders for the $150 million-a-year account of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have been whittled to five – with former incumbent Ogilvy & Mather [WAMN: 09-Nov-01] still in the running.

The review was called following O&M’s much-publicized inability to master the arcane accounting requirements for government business [WAMN: 24-Aug-01].

O&M, pitching with its sibling WPP media shop MindShare, now faces Cordiant’s Bates Worldwide / Zenith Optimedia (jointly owned with Publicis), Publicis-owned Saatchi Saatchi / also with Zenith Optimedia, and Interpublic-owned quartet Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide / Initiative Media, and McCann-Erickson Worldwide / Universal McCann.

The five groups will make their oral presentations next week.

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