Lids, the speciality hat retailer now positioned as "The ultimate head trip," is contacting shops for an assignment.
Lids' marketing officials referred questions about the review to Monica Nassif, the principal of Kilter Inc. in Minneapolis who is currently consulting to the client and overseeing the review process.
Nassif declined to disclose the budget, but said due to the account size, she was "shying away from large agencies."
One source pegged spending at $3-4 million.
An ideal fit for the client would be a shop that knows how to build strong consumer brands to help Lids build awareness, Nassif said. A final decision is expected in mid-April.
Advertising chores were most recently handled by Lane Advertising in Salem, Mass. After managing creative duties in-house, Lids began working with Lane on a project basis in September 1997. The agency has created radio spots, in-store promotions and a pair 30-second TV commercials for the client.
The TV ads, which broke in August 1998 and ran in Boston, Chicago and New York, featured catchy, lighthearted music and a baseball theme. One commercial showed a teenager styling his hair in front of a mirror. The young man applies mousse, combs his hair until it's just right and then slaps on a baseball cap.
Lane president Keith Lane stressed that his agency worked only on a project basis for Lids. When the commercials were completed last fall, Lane chose to sever ties with the Westwood, Mass.-based client.
"We made the decision not to work with them anymore," said Lane, who also serves as the agency's creative director. "We had some very serious creative differences."
Founded in 1992, Lids operates 400 stores in 40 states. The chain carries mostly baseball-style hats in such brands as Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Stussy, Mossimo and No Fear, in addition to licensed major sports leagues and colleges.