DoubleClick Hunts for Enhancement

Dogged of late by negative publicity stemming from a pair of lawsuits and allegations that it has infringed on consumer privacy, DoubleClick Corp. is seeking an agency to improve its image.

Spending was estimated in the $20-25 million range for the online advertising-services firm; the assignment includes creating and placing ads in North and South America. Consultants with Pile and Co. in Boston have begun compiling a list of possible review participants. Semi-finalists will be named within the next few weeks, sources said.

Pile and Co. referred queries to the New York-based client, a provider of Internet advertising services for marketers and Web publishers. “We expect to have a decision made within the first quarter of 2001,” said Susan Sachatello, chief marketing officer at DoubleClick, in a prepared statement. A company representative declined to elaborate.

Creative chores are with Digital Pulp in New York; media planning and buying are handled in-house. Digital Pulp was invited to pitch but said it declined, though it hopes to keep working with the client in some capacity.

New York-based agencies with some experience building technology brands are strongly preferred, though geography is not a make-or-break factor for inclusion, sources said.

Last month, DoubleClick settled separate patent disputes with 24/7 Media and interactive agency L90. 24/7 Media filed suit in May, alleging that DoubleClick had infringed on a patent. As part of the settlement, both parties granted each other certain rights in some of their respective patents. A similar settlement was reached in the dispute between DoubleClick and Los Angeles-based L90. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.