Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ has been quietly handling an ad project for a new division of Excite, and is favored to pick up the Internet media company's entire $7 million account next week, said sources close to the client.
Officials at the San Francisco agency confirmed they were awarded a $1-2 million project for Excite Classifieds, a division created when Excite bought the Internet-based company Classified 2000.
Strategic presentations were made last week in the review for Excite's main account. Late last week, Citron executives said the Redwood City, Calif.-based client had not yet notified them of any decision. Other finalists include Goldberg Moser O'Neill and late entrant TBWA Chiat/Day, both in San Francisco. The latter was expected to pull out of the pitch due to a potential conflict with Internet client Prodigy, which its New York office handles, sources said.
Officials at Excite, GMO and TBWA C/D either could not be reached or declined to comment.
Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, resigned the account in May, shortly after Citron was tapped to handle the radio and print project for the classified advertising service. That division recommended Citron for the main account when it went into review, said sources.
Excite's ad needs are expected to grow as competition heats up among rival Internet directory services, including Infoseek, Lycos and Cnet's Snap.
Citron has been seeking to replace the $20-30 million in billings lost when Dreyfus put its ad and direct response account into review in April. Dreyfus is seeking an East Coast agency with strong direct response expertise, according to sources.
Citron hopes to leverage its financial services experience in the pitch for the $5 million Montgomery Asset Management account, to be decided this week. --with Jane Irene Kelly