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3 N.Y. Shops Pitch Vonage

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NEW YORK Three New York shops have made presentations to Vonage in the review of creative and media duties on its advertising account, sources said.

Sources identified the shops as Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, Omnicom Group's TBWA\Chiat\Day and WPP Group's Enfatico. The pitches took place last week and the contenders are now awaiting a decision, said sources.

The agencies either did not return calls or referred calls to the Holmdel, N.J.-based client, which today confirmed an "ongoing search for new agency partners to handle our messaging and media." Vonage, through a representative, declined to comment further.

Major media spending on the brand exceeded $130 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That was about the same as in 2007 but down considerably from 2006's total of $285 million, according to Nielsen.

The search comes eight months after Vonage named a new CEO. Marc Lefar, a former chief marketing officer at Cingular, replaced interim CEO Jeffrey Citron in July 2008.

On the creative side, Vonage in recent years has used shops on a project basis, including BurnsGroup in New York and R2C Group, a direct-response agency based in Portland, Ore.

Vonage is a leading broadband telephone service player with about 2.6 million subscriber lines, according to Vonage.com. The company sells its service on the Web and at retail, via Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

Financially, however, Vonage has struggled. Its stock trades below $1 and last year the company recorded a net loss of $64.5 million. The loss, however, was significantly smaller than in 2007, when it totaled $267.4 million.