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Home Depot Rivals Play Waiting Game

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NEW YORK The finalists in The Home Depot's $580 million creative review entered the Thanksgiving break still awaiting a decision, two weeks after making final pitches to client executives in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the Big Orange Box is already gearing up for the next in its series of "periodic line reviews" -- one that will focus on the media duties now handled by Initiative in Atlanta.

A handful of agency search consultants have answered a request for proposals on Home Depot's media account and the company could select one as early as this week, said sources. The consultancy managing the creative process -- Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif. -- is said to be among those vying for the media job.

Home Depot also plans to review its speciality marketing accounts, including direct, multi-cultural, sports and in-store marketing.

In the creative review, the 18-year incumbent, independent shop The Richards Group in Dallas, is defending against Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, Interpublic Group's Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston and WPP Group's JWT in New York. Hill, Holliday and JWT pitched on Nov. 10 and GSD&M and Richards on Nov. 12, according to sources. The meetings took place at Home Depot's headquarters in Atlanta and each shop got about two hours to present, including a half hour to field questions. Home Depot CEO Frank Blake was among the client executives on hand.

At press time, a client representative said there would be no selection until after the Thanksgiving holiday.