Six agencies remain in the running for Nickelodeon's estimated $15 million image account, sources said.
Finalists in the New York-based cable network's review include Young & Rubicam, Fallon McElligott, DiNoto Lee and Kidvertisers here, as well as Arnold Communications in Boston and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.
Contenders with TV or kids' products branding experience: Y&R (Mattel), Fallon (FAO Schwarz), DiNoto Lee (CNN) and Martin, which won Nick at Nite's $8-10 million account last July.
Agencies were briefed last week and will present creative and strategic concepts by the end of next month. A decision is expected shortly thereafter. Ruth Sarlin, vice president of brand and franchise marketing at Nickelodeon, is managing the contest.
Nickelodeon, which talked to more than a dozen agencies [Adweek, March 1], could not be reached by press time. The unit of Viacom's MTV Networks plans a major branding effort as competition heats up between kids' programmers. Its rivals are Fox Family Channel and the WB.
"It's a question of putting a stake in the ground--starting to take ownership in what they created," a source said.
The cable network had created its ads in-house, working with shops on a project basis. The winner of this review, however, would be Nick's brand steward. Media duties, now at Western Initiative Media Worldwide, may also shift.