Monster Readies Review After Splitting With Arnold

BOSTON Havas’ Arnold and Monster.com are going their separate ways. Client founder and chairman Jeff Taylor said late Thursday that the company is launching a search for a new “global agency” to be brought aboard by “mid-summer.”

Taylor said he is familiar with the agency landscape and plans to put together a short list by late May or early June. Consultants with Pile and Co., Boston, oversaw the last review for Monster nearly three years ago, but Taylor said it is likely the impending review will be handled “on our own.”

The winning shop will be asked to rebrand Monster and its parent TMP Worldwide, a large recruitment marketing company, as a single entity under a new name that has yet to be announced, Taylor said. The search for a chief marketing executive to steer the new brand is also underway. (TMP has done virtually no media advertising of its own, concentrating nearly all spending on the Monster brand.)

Both creative and media (the latter with Arnold MPG) will be up for grabs, and the client is looking for a global umbrella positioning that can be tweaked in local markets, Taylor said. All told, the client spends an estimated $75-100 million annually on marketing.

“Serious talks” with prospective participants have yet to begin, he added.

Monster’s domestic ad spending has been falling steadily. The expenditure last year was $30 million, down from more than $45 million in 2001 and $60 million in 2000, according to CMR. That falloff as well as management changes at Monster (particularly the departure of svp, marketing Peter Blacklow as the year began) played a significant role in souring the relationship between Arnold and the client, sources said.

In a joint statement, Monster and Arnold attributed “the mutual decision to changes in the marketplace.” An Arnold representative declined to elaborate.

Taylor said only that “there’s probably a better match out there” for both agency and client, though he stressed that, “I have nothing but good things to say about Arnold” and the work it crafted for Monster.

Boston-based Arnold has worked with Monster, located in Maynard, Mass., since Sept. 2000. Arnold won the business following a review. Mullen, Wenham, Mass., a unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos., was Monster’s previous agency.

Recent Arnold campaigns for the online employment search service have been tagged “Never settle.” A Monster spot that ran on the Super Bowl in January showed a truck without a driver causing no small amount of damage. “Somewhere, a trucking company needs a driver,” the voiceover said. “Somewhere, a driver needs a job. Monster. Filling blue-collar, white-collar and no-collar jobs. Now Monster works for everybody.”