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EarthLink Selects Seven for Pitch

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LOS ANGELES -- EarthLink last week met with the agencies vying for its $40-50 million creative and media account, the client confirmed.

While a representative for the Internet-service provider declined to name the contenders, sources said they are incumbent TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif.;New York agencies Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami and Los Angeles; Leo Burnett in Chicago; McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C.; and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore.

Shops were briefed and given a creative assignment. Each agency was asked to present at least two campaigns, sources said.

Pitches are scheduled for Feb. 19 and 20 in Atlanta. A decision is expected by March 1. EarthLink sent RFPs to 10-12 shops earlier this month. In addition to the seven in contention, other shops receiving the RFP included dRush and Fallon in New York; Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago; Arnold in Boston; and the team of BaylessCronin in Atlanta and Merkley Newman Harty & Partners in New York, sources said.

"There's a little bit of vendor mentality here-'Let's get as many [contenders] as we can,'" said a source, noting that client evp of marketing Karen Gough worked on promotions at Coca-Cola North America.