The furore surrounding alleged overcharging by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, on its work for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy [WAMN: 14-Aug-01] culminated yesterday in termination of the agency’s annually renewable media planning/buying contract in the third year of its five year term.

According to the ONDCP, the $160 million a year contract for the nation's anti-drug advertising campaign will now go out for re-bidding, adding somewhat bizarrely that participation by O&M would be “welcome”. The agency was silent on the matter, save to claim it had delivered “important and successful ... measurable and undisputed results.”

The re-bid process excludes any creative element, currently the remit of the Partnership for Drug Free America. It will be based on “federal acquisition regulations, market research and a desire to reaffirm the integrity of the procurement process and shore up confidence in this important public health campaign.”

Meantime, the investigation into O&M’s alleged improprieties continues.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline