Ouch! McCann Worldgroup has been cut from the U.S. Army ad review — an account the agency has held for over a decade.
It’s a big contract, with estimates that it generates more than $30 million in revenue annually.
But McCann isn’t out of the running quite yet.
The Interpublic shop has filed a formal Government Accounting Office protest saying that it was unfairly eliminated by the GAO, which made the decision to cut the agency before the client — the U.S. Army — had a chance to weigh in on the merits of its proposal.
For the past decade, the Army seems to have been pretty happy with McCann’s performance — it has renewed the agency’s contract several times, most recently in 2015. The account went into formal review earlier this year.
Ad Age reported today that it looked like the GAO was grasping for technicalities in its rationale for eliminating McCann. Per the AA report, McCann alleges in its protest that the contracting officer overseeing the bid made a “superficial review” of McCann’s bid and its elimination was “arbitrary and capricious.”
It does make you wonder if maybe the Trump administration, trying to exact a little payback, put some pressure on the GAO to shaft McCann, given IPG’s failure to fall lockstep behind certain Trump initiatives, most notably the immigration ban back in January.
While the holding didn’t outright say the ban sucked or that Trump was delusional for issuing it, IPG was one of several holding companies that didn’t wholeheartedly embrace it.
The firm issued a detailed memo to staffers, penned by CEO Michael Roth, that read in part: “As you all know, we have long been committed to making diversity and inclusion a core part of Interpublic's DNA.” So right there, the company drew a line in the sand at odds with the current administration.
The memo went on: “Another fundamental belief that’s central to our company and our success is that we understand the benefits of being part of a global community.” Nope, definitely not in lock step with Trump, as evidenced by his recent pullout from the global environmental accord.
But would the president actually try to get someone (or a company) fired from a job they excel at simply because they didn’t measure up to his obsessive standard of loyalty?
Oh, I don’t know. Let’s ask Jim Comey.
McCann issued this statement regarding its elimination from the Army review and its protest of that decision: “We are disappointed in the Contracting Officer’s decision. We are enormously proud of the work we have done with our client partners over the past 11+ years, and hope we will have the opportunity to continue to help the US Army in meeting its important recruiting mission and goals.”