Eisner wins Md. Lottery deal

Officials say ad agency will keep its account at least four more years

April 18, 2002|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Eisner Communications Inc. will hold onto the Maryland State Lottery business - potentially worth $90 million over the next six years - based on a recommendation made yesterday by lottery officials.

Subject to final approval by the Board of Public Works in May, the contract is worth about $15 million a year for the next four years, with an option to renew for an additional two years.

"The lottery really is a cherished account," said Steven C. Eisner, president and chief executive of Eisner Communications. "We're very pleased that they've decided to build on our success together."

Eisner, which has held the lottery account for five years, defeated Baltimore-based Chess Communications Group for the business.

"I believe they've done an outstanding job in the five years they've had the contract," said Buddy Roogow, director of the Maryland State Lottery. "I'm very excited about the direction we've been going and where we're going in the future."

A key component of the Eisner work has been to promote the lottery as entertainment rather than a way to get rich quick - a strategy that will continue, he said. The firm also will focus on promoting scratch-off ticket sales, which already have doubled on their watch, Eisner said. New creative work for the lottery is scheduled to break in June.

In fiscal 2001, Maryland saw $1.2 billion in lottery sales - its best year ever. The state had revenue of $407 million, while players received $680 million and retailers $75.9 million

Revenue for this fiscal year is expected to exceed $426 million, according to lottery officials. Lottery sales are expected to exceed $1.275 billion.

During the past 12 months, Eisner reports its strongest new business year ever - about $41 million in new accounts. That business included US Airways Group Inc., estimated to be worth about $20 million, which has radio, print and outdoor advertising set to break next month, Eisner said.

The agency suffered a substantial blow recently when it lost one of its largest accounts, the Go RVing Coalition - a client for more than six years - worth between $35 and $40 million over three years. Nevertheless, the agency recently has added people in virtually every department, Eisner said.

The agency reported 2001 year-end billings of $248 million.

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