6 Shops Pitch $50 Mil.+ EarthLink

ATLANTA Six agencies have been named semifinalists in the review of creative chores on EarthLink’s $50-60 million U.S. ad account, sources said. Advancing were Interpublic Group’s Gotham and Lowe, WPP Group’s JWT, Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi and Omnicom Group’s DDB and Merkley + Partners, all in New York, sources said.

Agency executives either could not be reached or declined comment. The consultancy overseeing the search, Pile and Co. in Boston, could not immediately be reached.

A representative of EarthLink in Atlanta declined comment.

The Internet services provider has used MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami to craft ads since March 2004. Agency and client agreed to end their relationship last month, sources said; no reason was provided for the split [Adweek Online, Dec. 16].

EarthLink spent more than $75 million in paid media in 2004 and $50 million through October 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Sources said EarthLink would spend in excess of $50 million this year on ads, but has not finalized a budget.

“We revolve around you” has been EarthLink’s tagline.

Media buying and planning duties, shifted to Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest and its sibling Halogen, both in New York, from independent Horizon Media nine months ago, are not in play, sources said.

—with Adweek staff reports

This story updates and corrects an item posted earlier today with the correct list of contenders. Saatchi & Saatchi is in the final around, Euro RSCG is not.