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District Reviews Proceed Apace

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Two Washington, D.C.-area reviews are moving ahead, albeit at different speeds.
The Nature Conservancy hears pitches Monday and Tuesday. Five contenders are vying to become the first paid advertising agency for world's largest private conservation organization. Sources said billings could approach $5 million.
According to David Williamson, the Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit group's director of communications, the agencies are: August Lang & Husak, Bethesda, Md.; Eisner Communications, Baltimore; MGH Advertising, Owings Mill, Md.; and The Kaplan Thaler Group and McCann-Erickson, both New York.
Washington consultant Amy Longsworth was conducting the review. The conservancy last week hired a new director of brand marketing, Nancy Crozier, who will oversee the process. Crozier was previously advertising director for the American Red Cross, also located in Arlington, whose current agency is August Lang & Husak.
Calling the hiring of an agency "antithetical to our culture," Williamson said the Nature Conservancy's goal is to create a campaign that will be "a case study for how nonprofits do branding."
Williamson said an agency will be named before the end of March.
Separately, the Washington [D.C.] Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or Metro, has extended the deadline for returning requests for proposals to March 24. Ron
Reidstrom, Metro's assistant manager for market development, said a winner would be named before the end of April.
Incumbent Kershner & Co. in Alexandria, Va., will defend the five-year, $7.5 million transit account, according to an agency source.
The shop, which has held the Metro business for five years, is responsible for the current tagline, "The future is riding on Metro."