Lycos Network is evaluating four agencies in a closed review for its eight-figure advertising business, a client official has confirmed, and is believed to be seeking a seasoned executive to oversee all marketing operations.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and New York shops Deutsch and Lowe Lintas Partners are pitching against incumbent Bozell, also New York, said Madeline Mooney, vice president of marketing at the Waltham, Mass., Internet portal.
Annual spending is estimated at $25-30 million.
Lycos senior management may still be bristling over the circumstances surrounding the departure late last year of former chief marketing executive Jan Horsfall, who left to become president and CEO of Internet startup Phonefree.com, New York, sources said. Geoffrey Hatheway, who guided the Lycos account at Bozell, is now Phonefree's senior vice president of marketing. Some Lycos officials were displeased that he and Horsfall appeared to have jumped ship together, sources said.
"There's no bad blood" between Lycos and Bozell, insisted Lycos representative Brian Payea. A Bozell representative declined comment. Neither Payea nor Mooney would confirm that a search for a senior marketing official is underway.
"We're pleased with brand awareness. [But] we want to expand our efforts" by taking some marketing functions to an outside agency, Mooney said. Lycos may split its account and hopes to finish the review by summer, she said. K