US Army $4bn ad review heading for court again as WPP contests DDB win

WPP has joined former incumbent Interpublic’s McCann in contesting the result of the US Army’s review of its massive ten-year $4bn ad account, claiming that the winner, Omnicom’s DDB, couldn’t (among other things) do the job for the money. The money in question is $136m, over the ten-year period presumably.

WPP pitched by the business via an entity called the Possible Partnership. Possible is now part of Wunderman, WPP’s armoured spearhead these days – as they might say in army circles.

All the contenders, including DDB, are busily signing up armies of lawyers and lobbyists to fight their case in Washington. WPP, unusually, has gone outside its own ranks of lobbyists to hire an Ernst & Young firm.

This review has been bedevilled by one issue or another for years – a McCann and Army exec were accused of an “improper relationship” – but it’s unusual, to put it mildly, for an agency contender to claim another couldn’t do the work for the money. The pitch involved various criteria but Possible claims the Army only looked seriously at the bottom line price.

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