4 Shops Woo EarthLink

Project Winner Could Land $50 Mil. Account
LOS ANGELES–Four Southern California agencies are competing for a project for online service provider EarthLink Network that could grow to a $50 million account.
BBDO West and Mendelsohn/Zien, both in Los Angeles; Ground Zero in Santa Monica; and Team One Advertising in El Segundo are the finalists for the assignment, according to John Lake, EarthLink’s director of marketing. Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ, San Francisco, dropped out of the review due to conflicts with other new business, Lake said. DDB Needham’s Los Angeles office and Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco were eliminated earlier in the review.
Sources said the EarthLink assignment is worth an estimated $2-3 million. If the project tests well, the agency that created it will be awarded the entire account, with billings as high as $50 million, according to sources. The Pasadena, Calif., client has indicated to shops it has “limitless amounts of money” to spend on advertising, sources said.
Earthlink executives declined to say what the initial project might entail, although the client is said to lean heavily toward direct response work. Executives at the agencies declined comment.
Final presentations are scheduled for early September, with a decision expected shortly thereafter, Lake said.
EarthLink is the default Internet service provider on Apple Computer’s new iMac computer, which went on sale this month.
Separately, Citron is handling an assignment for the newly acquired classified division of Excite, one of Earthlink’s rival services. The agency had been a favorite in the review for Excite’s main account, which has been delayed indefinitely, said company sources.
Since initiating the review, Excite has been restructuring its management ranks and revamping its marketing plan, according to sources.