CMGI to Name FCB Worldwide

Internet holding company CMGI is expected to name FCB Worldwide for the creative portion on a national ad assignment, sources said.

CMGI executive vice president of marketing and corporate communications Bill White declined to confirm the selection, though he did say a decision is imminent. FCB in New York declined to comment at press time on Friday.

Spending for the assignment is between $15 million and $20 million, and the multimedia branding effort is tentatively set to appear before year’s end or early in 2001, sources said.

A small group of undislcosed agencies met with client officials last week, White said. Beyond that, he declined comment.

TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group, Boston, which worked with CMGI for more than two years, had been developing the branding push since summer. Client and agency, however, parted, prompting CMGI’s decision to invite agencies for meetings, said TFA/Leo Burnett official Sean Bisceglia.

The inability of CMGI and TFA/Leo Burnett to agree on creative direction was also key, sources said.

About a half-dozen agencies met with the client, sources said. Contenders ranged from boutique-sized agencies to shops with offices across the country. Creative prowess, not necessarily technology expertise, was most desired, sources said.

The effort itself will target a general business audience and some consumer segments and focus on brand building rather than specific products, sources said. CMGI has a stake in more than 70 Internet companies, including Alta Vista, En-gage and uBid. Advertising accounts for individual CMGI properties are handled by various agencies.

CMGI announced record revenue of $377.2 million for the fourth quarter ended July 31, a 568-percent increase compared with last year’s fourth quarter. The company has, however, been dogged by persistent unprofitability, including a $633 million loss for the fourth quarter.