Ingalls and Mullen are facing off for a national advertising assignment from a division of computer retailer CompUSA.
The client is looking for a shop to support a newly revamped Web site (www.compusanet.com) that allows consumers to buy merchandise online, said sources. The winning agency will be asked to create a brand identity for the offering through media ad campaigns, said sources.
The budget for the assignment may reach $20 million, said a source close to the process. Others said initial spending will be about $10 million.
A representative at CompUSA headquarters in Dallas referred questions to CompUSANET.com Inc., the company's direct sales unit in Marlborough, Mass., which administers the Web site and is holding the review. Officials there did not return calls.
Agency officials declined comment, but sources said Ingalls and Mullen have emerged as contenders in a review that began several weeks ago. A decision is expected before the end of the month.
Boston-based Ingalls got into the competition based primarily on its retail expertise, sources said.
Mullen in Wenham, Mass., specializes in consumer accounts such as Swiss Army Brands and the Sci-Fi Channel.
Italia/Gal Advertising in Dallas handles broadcast creative and media duties for CompUSA; print is handled in-house.
Italia/Gal's status is not in jeopardy and it is not involved in the current pitch, sources said.
Overall, CompUSA spends about $70 million a year on ads, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
--with Justin Dini and Sarah Jones